The government is encouraging Filipinos to proudly “show the brand of hospitality that we are well-known for” to the 21 heads of states, including President Benigno S. Aquino III, plus the leader of a guest country, and the thousands of delegates who will attend the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit to be hosted by Manila.
Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr., director general of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council (NOC), on Thursday asked everyone’s indulgence, especially those who live in Manila, for all the inconveniences that the annual APEC meetings would cause.
“(APEC 2015) involves not only the government but also the people, hosting this group of leaders who have in their agenda the facilitation of trade within the region,” he said during a press briefing held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
According to Paynor, many APEC meetings were held in several cities across the country and residents also experienced the same inconvenience.
“We have been hosting the APEC since December 2014, and we have had 200-plus meetings,” he said. “It is only now that we experience inconvenience because we have world leaders coming in here.”
Paynor stressed that security is heightened in the Philippine capital city due to the congregation of high-risk leaders.
“We need to understand that threats follow world leaders wherever they go,” he pointed out.
He said the policy is that when the leaders move, there should be no traffic moving.
“This is not just done here in the Philippines, but also in all APEC summits that I myself have attended in the past. This is the norm. We cannot do any less. That is the inconvenience that security by necessity creates,” Paynor noted.
He said holidays were declared so that traffic could be managed and movements of the leaders to hotels and venues would be unhampered.
“Rest assured, the NOC has taken into consideration the safety of our citizens,” he said.
For next week, Paynor disclosed that they have on registry more than 5,000 delegates who will be arriving in the country for the week-long event.
“We expect 7,000 all here in Metro Manila,” he said. “That is the reason why the NCR’s (National Capital Region) normal police forces have been stretched. We brought in augmentations from other regions.”
He further reported that more than half of the APEC leaders are coming from Turkey and that they are expected to arrive within hours or minutes from each other.
For this, the government has created five arrival points for APEC leaders at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“Departure will be the same, but easier to manage because half of the leaders will be leaving for Kuala Lumpur for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit,” Paynor revealed.
He said President Aquino is “on top of everything” and that his directive is to ensure the country’s hosting is a success from all points of view.
“We have to ensure that each economy’s agenda will be hassle-free, that they have done their work, and that their objectives were met,” Paynor said. “At that point, we can say that we have had a successful hosting of the APEC.” (PNA/PCOO-APEC Communications Team)