© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org   | APEC PHL NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015

BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

MANILA AT THE BOTTOM OF 'MOST LIVABLE' AMONG APEC CITIES


NOVEMBER 17 -A typical traffic congestion along C-5 in Metro Manila. LEO M. SABANGAN II INQUIRER FILE  Manila ranks near the bottom of most livable and business-friendly cities in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a study by professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers. The country’s capital placed 22nd among the 28 cities included in the the study called “Building Better Cities,” which was launched at the sidelines of the Apec CEO Summit here. PwC said this was the first report that delved on the comparative rankings of cities within the Apec region. “Our goal for this study is to spur dialog among city leaders who are tackling challenges ranging from technological developments that make large investments outdated, to overstretched municipal budgets,” said Bob Moritz, chairman and senior partner of US-based PwC. Toronto, Vancouver and Singapore emerged as the top three most livable cities in Apec, where it is also easy to do business. Seattle and Los Angeles, the two US cities included in the survey, ranked fifth and ninth, respectively. At the bottom of the list are Cebu, Surabaya and Port Moresby. PwC released the results of the study, as the Philippines hosts the Apec Summit this week, forcing organizers to close several roads that affected the mobility of thousands of commuters in Metro Manila. “This study provides a set of metrics and a diagnostic tool for mayors and urban planners to see how they can improve their communities to build better cities. We hope mayors use this information to see how they can evolve their cities into more livable, sustainable, and competitive places,” said National Competitiveness Council co-chairman Guillermo Luz. READ MORE...

ALSO Analysis: Economic losses outweigh perceived gains


NOVEMBER 19 -THE country’s “ill-prepared” and “nightmarish” hosting of this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit has more “faults” to it than its perceived benefits as it dealt a heavy blow, among others, to Metro Manila workers and residents who were deprived of their rights to move conveniently around and to earn a living, according to renowned economic and political analysts. In separate interviews with The Manila Times, both former National Treasurer Leonor Briones and Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), claimed that the “economic cost” of holding the APEC summit in the Philippine capital far outweighs its perceived benefits that come in “non-binding” agreements forged between Manila and other APEC member-countries. “The government was not ready to host APEC. Because they [in the government] wanted so much to succeed, they have to put on a grandiose show at the expense of the people. They sacrificed a lot and the affected people lost a lot,” said Briones, a professor emeritus at the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines in Diliman (Quezon City). According to her, the experience has left an indelible mark of suffering for ordinary folk who had to walk for hours to and from work.She said the APEC summit aggravated the already precarious situation of residents in Metro Manila and the suburbs who have to contend with daily traffic and hellish queues at railway systems.“The P10 billion spent by the government is understated. There are bigger losses than this. The people have been deprived of their human right to earn a living. I don’t think it’s right. It is a violation of their right to work,” Briones added.At the outset, she said, preparations were only meant to “impress” and to boost the country’s image, something which the government could have done more effectively had the summit been held at a more convenient and practical venue. In 1996, the APEC meeting was held in Subic Freeport, causing no disruptions at all to Manila, the nation’s capital. Briones surmised that the organizers decided to hold the event in Manila over certain “concessions” from businesses that were to directly benefit from it. “But how about the public utility drivers who lost their income? The lowly store owners who were forced to close shop? The street vendors who rely on their daily sales? The low and middle-income workers who had to walk for hours so that they can report for work? How can the government compensate them?” she pointed out.Besides the gargantuan government budget for the event, airline companies had to cancel at least a thousand scheduled flights that cost them billions of pesos. Traffic itself and the corresponding gasoline expenditures of motorists cost them a lot, too, Briones noted. “Other countries that hosted APEC did not demand as much and they did not sacrifice their people for such a ‘bongga-cious’ [over-the-top] performance just to impress. In fact, in Bangkok [Thailand], tourists are even given the chance to taste local street foods as part of their come-ons. Can we quantify the amounts lost due to canceled meetings, programs and activities of middle-income workers?” she said. Casiple echoed Briones’ assertion that for the government to “make up” for giving the people a hard time, it should produce tangible results from the activity.“Whether the APEC summit will reap the benefits that it promised will have to be answered when the assumed benefits become a reality. Some of these benefits, such as prestige, are intangible and cannot be given a price,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Ladies’ lunch shuts down Intramuros...

ALSO Coloma, Purisima sing different tune: Palace on APEC hosting - Gains surpassed losses


NOVEMBER 20 -Philippine President Benigno Aquino makes a toast at the start of the welcome dinner for leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Wednesday Nov. 18, 2015. Noel Celis, Pool via AP
The advantages of hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year surpassed the losses it incurred, Malacañang said on Friday.
"Looking at (the) big picture, losses incurred this week will be recovered eventually in terms of continuing and sustained growth and development of the Philippine economy as a favored investment and tourism destination," by Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. The country spent almost P10 billion for hosting the year-long economic meetings in the country, which were held in Metro Manila, Cebu, Pampanga, Iloilo, Tagaytay and Boracay Island. Coloma pointed out that good governance requires decisions on what would be the best for the country and what would serve people's long-term interest. The Palace official admitted that there would be differences in viewpoints but assured that the government is willing to engage all stakeholders in a dialogue. He added that they will also be considered for improvement. "Reasonable criticism is always welcome in a healthy democracy," Coloma said. The government drew flak over heavy traffic due to road closures during the high-level event in Metro Manila. READ: APEC security task force apologizes for traffic mess Several roads were closed to accommodate the vehicles of APEC delegates and leaders who were in the country. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, meanwhile, said that the APEC provided a venue to further enhance economic and trade relationships among its member economies. READ MORE...RELATED, FROM BICOL MAIL: AS I SEE IT: The negative “effect” of APEC hosting to the Filipinos

ALSO: PAL, Cebu Air lose P1.26b from canceled flights


NOVEMBER 17 -Philippine Airlines and Cebu Air Inc. incurred a combined foregone revenues of P1.26 billion due to flight cancellations following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting here in Manila. “PAL’s foregone or lost revenue due to Apec cancellations is approximately $18.75 million [P860 million]. PAL’s gross revenue per day is an estimated $7.5 million,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said.
Villaluna said close to 700 domestic and international flights were cancelled during the Apec meeting, accounting for 45 percent of what PAL would normally operate within a six-day period. The country’s flag carrier operates an estimated 260 flights a day. “We must stress, however, that the long term benefits of Apec outweigh these aforementioned losses” she said. Cebu Pacific corporate affairs officer-in-charge JR Mantaring said revenue loss from flight cancellations due to the Apec meeting was estimated at P400 million. “As there may still be further changes in flight schedules within this week, this figure may still change,” Mantaring said. Cebu Pacific Group has cancelled over 680 domestic and international flights during the international conference. The runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be closed from November 16 to 20 due to the arrival and departure of Apec leaders. Passengers of PAL and Cebu Air with confirmed tickets within November 16 to 20 period have the option to rebook their flights, with rebooking and penalty charges waived. READ MORE...

ALSO: China, Russia slam US-led trade deal (TPP)


NOVEMBER 19 -President Aquino greets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 2015 APEC welcome dinner at the MOA Arena last night. Boy Santos
China and Russia took swipes at the US-initiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) even as the Philippines sought inclusion in the trade bloc of 12 Pacific Rim economies.
President Aquino, addressing a business forum on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit yesterday, asked US President Barack Obama for help in enabling the Philippines to join the TPP, which aims to boost trade and set labor and environment standards in the region. Restrictive economic policies, several of which are enshrined in the Constitution, have kept the Philippines out of the TPP. China and Russia have also not been invited. “If the whole idea is to broaden trade, making it exclusive actually defeats the whole purpose of why you enter into all of these agreements,” Aquino said. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an article he wrote and sent to The STAR on the eve of the APEC summit, expressed support for free trade zones and liberalization of trade and investment in the Pacific Rim. “At the same time however, the way the confidential fashion in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations were conducted is probably not the best way to facilitate sustainable growth in the Asia-Pacific region,” Putin wrote. READ MORE...

ALSO By Sara Soliven De Guzman: The magic of APEC [The magic spell of the APEC is fading out. Who or what will cast the spell again? Can our leaders find a potion to keep the magic alive? If the government can do it for the pope’s visit and APEC, why can’t our leaders do it for the country and the Filipino people?]


NOVEMBER 23 -By Sara Soliven De Guzman
If this administration can turn the Mall of Asia arena into a paradise in a snap of a finger, then why can’t they have the same determination to do the same magic for the country? Didn’t you notice how delightful the airport was? How well-groomed all the personnel were with bright and colorful uniforms, all groomed up to meet the guests? How the policemen and other security forces didn’t use their cellphones nor smoke a cigarette while at work? How attentive they were to every moving object?  I was amazed at how the roads leading to the hotels and conference sites were handsomely landscaped with trees and patches of garden all around. How Roxas Boulevard suddenly was able to restore its splendor, how good Manila Bay smelled and how most if not all street children along with their parents have vanished into thin air? We should congratulate this Administration for a job well done! They were able to realize that dream that Filipinos all long for. But we know that they did this only for the coming heads of states and dignitaries. Why can’t they do it for us? I bet if the APEC guests had to ride the MRT, this Administration would right away have flown in all those new trains and would have made sure everyone would ride them safely and soundly. I always knew the Filipinos have the will and the zest to get things done if they really put their heart and mind into it. It is just a matter of conviction and decisiveness. The problem is that we seem to be driven by an outside force every time we want to do things. We can’t seem to be consistent in our ways. Our purpose is weak and instead of wanting to improve the Philippines for our people, we are only driven by that inherent trait of ‘showing off’. The Filipino has a bad trait of pakitang tao. We make a show to attract attention even in superficial ways. We love to entertain guests specially foreigners. In our homes, we bring out the best silver and cutleries. Everything is spic and span. We decorate our homes elaborately. We even borrow money to roast a pig and prepare a sumptuous meal. We just want to show off. We wear beautifully adorned clothes and use the most expensive watches. We entertain our guests with a bang. We are so conscious of making everything perfect to a tee. What a spectacle! After the guests have left, everything goes back to normal. The magnificence soon deteriorates and over time will once again return to its ‘real’ condition. The true colors will appear, the hidden cracks will surface and the cockroaches, mites and rats will come out. If only our government can sustain all its services in a more professional way, then we wouldn’t have to spend billions to create such a fantasy. Look at the difference then and now after the guests have left. It’s business as usual! Don’t get me wrong. I know we should showcase the country to the rest of the world. We should be proud. But isn’t it difficult to have that feeling of pride with the way this was done for APEC? How can you be proud when you know this is surreal? I couldn’t actually look straight in the eyes of the President as he was reading the opening remarks narrating the agenda and objectives of the summit. He was rumbling big ideas, so big I couldn’t reach them. The different leaders were looking down seemingly embarrassed or maybe they too couldn’t believe a word he was saying knowing the absolute and evident condition of his administration. How can a leader speak of something so high on the agenda without credibility? READ MORE...

ALSO: Filipina entrepreneur shines at Apec


NOVEMBER 18 -US president Barack Obama, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Aisa Mijeno
A Filipina who co-founded Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALT), a company that makes innovative lamps powered by saltwater, was thrust into the global limelight at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit on Wednesday as a great example of a young entrepreneur using technology to solve everyday problems. Aisa Mijeno, an engineer and environmental advocate, thought of making the saltwater-powered lamps after living with the natives of the Butbut tribe in Kalinga who relied only on kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores. The main inspiration to come up with this lighting application was when she learned that because of scarce transportation in this community, people had to walk down the mountain six hours every other day just to get kerosene for their lamps. No less than US president Barack Obama engaged Mijeno in a panel discussion that also included Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who built Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce platform.
READ: Obama lauds salt lamp inventor as exemplary young entrepreneur Obama – who pitched for greater global action to counter climate change – said he had brought one “young new entrepreneur” (Mijano) and another “young at heart but not as young large entrepreneur” (Ma) to compare notes on “why they see this (green solution) as an opportunity and why they think it makes good business as well as good environmental sense and how we collectively could be more supportive and encouraging of the kind of innovation that they represent.” Mijeno, the CEO of SALT, was cited as a fine example of “young entrepreneurs coming out with leapfrog technologies.” Asked by Obama what else SALT needed to scale up operations, Mijeno cited young entrepreneurs’ need for support system, mentorship as well as new funding to mass produce the lamps. “That’s our main challenge right now. We’re on a critical phase. We’re trying to mass-produce the lamp so we’re just looking for someone to fund us,” Mijano said, eliciting a mix of laughter and applause from the crowd, some of whom thought it was a pitch to the big philanthropist who was seated just beside her. Obama said in jest he was just like a matchmaker. READ: Obama tells Apec: Let’s talk about climate change SALT’s lamp uses saline solution or even ocean water and can operate for about eight hours for lighting or cellphone charging. “Our main advocacy is we wanted to address the light inequality gap, first in the Philippines by focusing on the people at the bottom of the pyramid because it comprises 15-20 percent of the country’s population,” Mijano said. “Most of these families live on island communities and they are not connected to power grids and they mainly use kerosene and fuel-based lamp as the main source of lighting and we know the danger that kerosene poses,” she said noting that these traditional lamps could cause fire accidents and emit more carbon. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Manila ranks low among Apec cities


A typical traffic congestion along C-5 in Metro Manila. LEO M. SABANGAN II  INQUIRER FILE

MANILA, NOVEMBER 23, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) posted November 17, 2015 by Gabrielle H. Binaday - Manila ranks near the bottom of most livable and business-friendly cities in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a study by professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The country’s capital placed 22nd among the 28 cities included in the the study called “Building Better Cities,” which was launched at the sidelines of the Apec CEO Summit here. PwC said this was the first report that delved on the comparative rankings of cities within the Apec region.

“Our goal for this study is to spur dialog among city leaders who are tackling challenges ranging from technological developments that make large investments outdated, to overstretched municipal budgets,” said Bob Moritz, chairman and senior partner of US-based PwC.

Toronto, Vancouver and Singapore emerged as the top three most livable cities in Apec, where it is also easy to do business. Seattle and Los Angeles, the two US cities included in the survey, ranked fifth and ninth, respectively. At the bottom of the list are Cebu, Surabaya and Port Moresby.

PwC released the results of the study, as the Philippines hosts the Apec Summit this week, forcing organizers to close several roads that affected the mobility of thousands of commuters in Metro Manila.

“This study provides a set of metrics and a diagnostic tool for mayors and urban planners to see how they can improve their communities to build better cities. We hope mayors use this information to see how they can evolve their cities into more livable, sustainable, and competitive places,” said National Competitiveness Council co-chairman Guillermo Luz.

READ MORE...

Cebu ranked 26th among the 28 cities included in the study, ahead of Surabaya (Indonesia) and Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea).

The survey ranked the cities according to 39 different indicators, which were grouped into five major indicators such culture and social health; connectivity; health and welfare; environmental sustainability; and economics.

Manila lagged behind other Southeast Asian cities such as Singapore (3rd), Kuala Lumpur (15th) and Bangkok (16th), but placed better than Jakarta (25th) and Ho Chi Minh (24th).

Among the five indicators, Manila’s lowest ranking was in health and welfare, as it placed 27th behind Cebu at 26th.

“Apec cities are struggling to keep pace with their population’s health care demands, and it’s not a new or exclusive problem. Topping the list for excellence in this category were Tokyo, Osaka and Toronto, while Cebu, Manila and Port Moresby are still working hard to resolve these issues,” PwC said.

In digital and physical connectivity which includes Internet and traffic, Cebu ranked 27th and Manila at 20th place, amid low public transport system scores.

The study said the proposed $8-billion subway network dubbed as the mass transit loop, as part of the long term multi-modal transportation, would help ease the country’s traffic congestion problem.

Manila also ranked low in environmental sustainability at 26th place while Cebu was listed at 23rd place. In the economics category, Manila ranked 22nd and Cebu at 23rd. Hong Kong topped this category.

Cebu and Manila ranked 17th and 14th, respectively in culture and health driven mainly by the middle-class population growth. Manila added about 670,000 to middle-class ranks since 2013.

PwC said the large, young and educated and English-speaking population of Manila attracted business process outsourcing companies. Beginning with a single call center in 1992, it is now the world’s second largest BPO destination.

Cebu’s middle-class growth of 6.4 percent since 2013 also made it the eighth-biggest global BPO destination.

“Manila and Cebu, for example, are now two of the biggest markets globally in the business process outsourcing sector. Online education, too, is expanding to fortify bricks and mortar education,” the study said.

“I hope this first-ever APEC cities study triggers sustained action. I hope it helps build the momentum towards designing, building, and redeveloping competitive cities in Apec through research and action-oriented programs. When people think of where to live, work, invest, and visit, they don’t think countries, they think cities,” said Ayala Corp. chairman and chief executive Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.


MANILA TIMES

Economic losses outweigh perceived gains November 19, 2015 11:33 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO, SENIOR REPORTER

THE country’s “ill-prepared” and “nightmarish” hosting of this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit has more “faults” to it than its perceived benefits as it dealt a heavy blow, among others, to Metro Manila workers and residents who were deprived of their rights to move conveniently around and to earn a living, according to renowned economic and political analysts.

In separate interviews with The Manila Times, both former National Treasurer Leonor Briones and Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), claimed that the “economic cost” of holding the APEC summit in the Philippine capital far outweighs its perceived benefits that come in “non-binding” agreements forged between Manila and other APEC member-countries.

“The government was not ready to host APEC. Because they [in the government] wanted so much to succeed, they have to put on a grandiose show at the expense of the people. They sacrificed a lot and the affected people lost a lot,” said Briones, a professor emeritus at the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines in Diliman (Quezon City).

According to her, the experience has left an indelible mark of suffering for ordinary folk who had to walk for hours to and from work.

She said the APEC summit aggravated the already precarious situation of residents in Metro Manila and the suburbs who have to contend with daily traffic and hellish queues at railway systems.

“The P10 billion spent by the government is understated. There are bigger losses than this. The people have been deprived of their human right to earn a living. I don’t think it’s right. It is a violation of their right to work,” Briones added.

At the outset, she said, preparations were only meant to “impress” and to boost the country’s image, something which the government could have done more effectively had the summit been held at a more convenient and practical venue.

In 1996, the APEC meeting was held in Subic Freeport, causing no disruptions at all to Manila, the nation’s capital.

Briones surmised that the organizers decided to hold the event in Manila over certain “concessions” from businesses that were to directly benefit from it.


Mass national disruption as APEC Manila 2015 circus comes to town! - FROM Get Real Post

“But how about the public utility drivers who lost their income? The lowly store owners who were forced to close shop? The street vendors who rely on their daily sales? The low and middle-income workers who had to walk for hours so that they can report for work?

How can the government compensate them?” she pointed out.

Besides the gargantuan government budget for the event, airline companies had to cancel at least a thousand scheduled flights that cost them billions of pesos.

Traffic itself and the corresponding gasoline expenditures of motorists cost them a lot, too, Briones noted.

“Other countries that hosted APEC did not demand as much and they did not sacrifice their people for such a ‘bongga-cious’ [over-the-top] performance just to impress. In fact, in Bangkok [Thailand], tourists are even given the chance to taste local street foods as part of their come-ons. Can we quantify the amounts lost due to canceled meetings, programs and activities of middle-income workers?” she said.

Casiple echoed Briones’ assertion that for the government to “make up” for giving the people a hard time, it should produce tangible results from the activity.

“Whether the APEC summit will reap the benefits that it promised will have to be answered when the assumed benefits become a reality. Some of these benefits, such as prestige, are intangible and cannot be given a price,” he said.

READ MORE...

Casiple, however, claimed that based on “immediate impact,” the international event only “caused havoc on the lives of residents of Metro Manila.”

For Briones, who had seen 26 APEC summits throughout her career in government, the “motherhood” and “general statements” made at the conclusion of each may sound attractive but forging these agreements are just the beginning of a long tedious process of seeing them come to fruition.

“Remember that these are all non-binding. They can either sign or not. They can agree now and disagree later. These have to be ratified by each country and most of the time, nobody can oblige any country to fulfill what was agreed [on]… Whatever happened to previous APEC agreements? Fact is, only half were ratified and implemented,” she said.

“So the questions we have to ask are: First, how do we benefit from it? Second, is it worth the sacrifice? The cost was very high and the impact on the people was very hard,” Briones added.

4 Responses to Economic losses outweigh perceived gains
Josh says:
November 20, 2015 at 10:10 am
There you have it. The losses are real and the gains only perceived.
Reply
kalibo aklan says:
November 20, 2015 at 9:08 am
shut up! it was beautiful elegant but simple where do you want to to hola APEC in abusaf infested province? So many beautiful sights in Manila for the wives. About the traffic apec or no apec it’s always traffic in philippines
Reply
centurion says:
November 20, 2015 at 7:35 am
Taxpayers lost 10 billion pesos (and counting) just so Pnoy could brag before his guests that he is the best thing that happened to the country? Another tasteless spectacle from a mental case borne out of Daang Matuwid.
Reply
Ruben V. Calip says:
November 20, 2015 at 6:38 am
Dr. Briones has made an accurate assessment. Also Mr. Casiple.
This is another proof of the stupidity and anti-peopleness of the Aquino Administration. The buzz is that the decisions and plans for APEC were all the products of PNoy Aquino’s brain. He should be flogged in public!
Reply

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Ladies’ lunch shuts down Intramuros By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 20, 2015 - 12:00am 2 187 googleplus0 0


Presidential sisters (front row, second from left) Kris Aquino, Viel Dee, Pinky Abellada and Ballsy Cruz pose with spouses of APEC leaders during a visit at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila yesterday. With them are Datin Seri Hajah Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak; Susan Chu, wife of Taiwan representative Vincent Siew; (back row) Mai Thi Hanh, wife of Vietnam President Truong Tran Sang; Regina Tong Ching-yi, wife of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying; Naraporn Chan-o-cha, wife of Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha; Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Ho Ching, wife of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Mufidah Kalla, wife of Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla. KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

MANILA, Philippines - While the ladies lunched on fiddlehead fern salad, Japanese cod and Australian short rib, life in Intramuros quite literally came to a standstill, as even those living there were not allowed to enter unless they produced identification showing they were legitimate residents.

The whole of Intramuros was cordoned off since Wednesday night for the visit of the spouses of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, hosted by the presidential sisters led by actress Kris Aquino.

Joining the tour dubbed “A Walk Through Time” were Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Regina Tong Ching-yi, wife of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying; Mufidah Kalla, wife of Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla; Ho Ching, wife of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; Naraporn Chan-o-cha, wife of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha; Mai Thi Hanh, wife of Vietnam President Truong Tran Sang; and Susan Chu, wife of Taiwan envoy Vincent Siew.

President Aquino’s sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Viel Aquino-Dee and Kris waited for the APEC leaders’ spouses at Fort Santiago, where the guests were entertained by a short cultural show featuring folk dances at around 10:30 a.m.

Aside from the presidential sisters, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. also accompanied the APEC first ladies.

After touring Fort Santiago, they went around the Walled City aboard e-jeepneys, visiting Casa Manila and San Agustin Church, where a tableau of life during the Spanish colonial days was presented.

The tour was capped with a luncheon at the Marble Ballroom of the Ayuntamiento building, where a bazaar of Philippine-made products was set up.

The visiting first ladies were serenaded by local artists, including singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid, Matteo Guidicelli, Angeline Quinto and Erik Santos.

The 20-minute performance was hosted by Kris Aquino and actor Derek Ramsay.

“May our bonds grow deeper in time and we hope you all had a wonderful time,” Abellada told the dignitaries.

‘No entry’ Scores of policemen, members of the Presidential Security Group and barangay watchmen were stationed at every corner and at all access roads to the old Spanish enclave, including P. Burgos, TM Kalaw, Ma. Orosa and Roxas Blvd.

Since yesterday was officially a non-working day, most establishments were closed, although some were open but their employees were barred from reporting to their offices. Tourists likewise were kept out of Intramuros.

Residents of Intramuros and those who live and work in the area were appalled at being made to suffer inconvenience during the APEC activity.

While police stationed in the area were polite and were just following orders, it didn’t help motorists suddenly faced with road closures. One motorist, after encountering barriers at three intersections, asked a policeman where she could pass to get to Port Area.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know,” he said in Filipino. “I’m from Bicol and was just deployed here for APEC.” – With Alexis Romero


PHILSTAR

Coloma, Purisima sing different tune: Palace on APEC hosting - Gains surpassed losses By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated November 20, 2015 - 3:40pm 2 161 googleplus0


Philippine President Benigno Aquino makes a toast at the start of the welcome dinner for leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Wednesday Nov. 18, 2015. Noel Celis, Pool via AP

MANILA, Philippines — The advantages of hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year surpassed the losses it incurred, Malacañang said on Friday.

"Looking at (the) big picture, losses incurred this week will be recovered eventually in terms of continuing and sustained growth and development of the Philippine economy as a favored investment and tourism destination," by Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

The country spent almost P10 billion for hosting the year-long economic meetings in the country, which were held in Metro Manila, Cebu, Pampanga, Iloilo, Tagaytay and Boracay Island.

Coloma pointed out that good governance requires decisions on what would be the best for the country and what would serve people's long-term interest.

The Palace official admitted that there would be differences in viewpoints but assured that the government is willing to engage all stakeholders in a dialogue. He added that they will also be considered for improvement.

"Reasonable criticism is always welcome in a healthy democracy," Coloma said.

The government drew flak over heavy traffic due to road closures during the high-level event in Metro Manila.

READ: APEC security task force apologizes for traffic mess

Several roads were closed to accommodate the vehicles of APEC delegates and leaders who were in the country.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, meanwhile, said that the APEC provided a venue to further enhance economic and trade relationships among its member economies.

READ MORE...

The country's export rose more than 15 times due to stronger tie-up with APEC member economies. Trade rose to $21 trillion from $3 trillion before APEC, the finance secretary said.

Purisima noted that the administration of President Benigno Aquino III prepared the country for partnerships as it opened more than 90 percent of domestic activity to foreign investors.

"The beauty of APEC is it gives us voice in important fora," Purisima said, adding that technical resource training and other similar support have been strengthened because of APEC.

The finance chief stressed that APEC is an opportunity to showcase the importance of good governance for a sound economy. Eight APEC member economies are also members of G20—Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Russia.

The APEC leaders concluded their annual meeting by releasing a joint declaration.

FULL TEXT: APEC 2015 leaders' declaration | INFOGRAPHIC: 5 main points of 2015 APEC declaration

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RELATED FROM THE BICOL MAIL

AS I SEE IT: The negative “effect” of APEC hosting to the Filipinos
NOVEMBER 5, 2015 by BICOLMAIL in OPINION with 0 COMMENTS

This columnist is bewildered on how the insensitiveness, and incompetence of the government have reached a point when the well being of its citizens were set aside and sometimes totally disregarded just to attain its defined objective.

In fact, the government has been busy preparing for the arrival of world leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on November 16-20, 2015. Among them are US President Barack Obama, and hopefully China’s head of state.

Of course, Malacañang bragged about the positive effects of the APEC summit in the Philippines. Cited are the following:

1. It is an honor and privilege to host such prestigious gathering of world leaders. It is an accolade to PNoy for being able to host the APEC summit before his 6-year term ends next year;

2. The Philippines will be at the limelight as positive publicity will be generated worldwide with the presence of more than 3,000 journalists covering the event;

3. The APEC leaders will personally witness the economic development which PNoy said he has achieved during his last SONA, that improved the lot of the Filipinos.

However, what were not properly considered and taken into account are the effects of the said event to the ordinary Filipino and his daily grind especially those who are residing, working, studying in Metro-Manila and its nearby areas.

Who really benefits from the APEC summit? Of course, the BIG Business, and the world leaders with their respective agenda. But since it is only an informal gathering of world leaders, nobody is compelled to follow what was agreed in case they changed their minds. How about the ordinary citizens from the member countries? I doubt it especially that most of the APEC agenda are arbitrary and flimsy!

In fact, during the APEC event, the ordinary folks will suffer the horrendous traffic, cancelled flights, etc., while the chauffeured limousines of the delegates zip through conveniently from the airports, hotels, and crowded streets with ease. The same ordinary folks will also bear the brunt of whatever lopsided economic policies that will be instituted afterwards.


The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were advised to take the Clark International Airport as their point of arrival or departure during the dates of November 16 to 20 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ forum. Clark International airport is not affected by the delays or cancellations of flights so OFWs should take their flights home or leave from Clark during the APEC meeting on November, Geslani said. Middle Eastern airlines and other budget airlines fly to Clark from Hong Kong, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur Dubai, Riyadh or Qatar so our OFWs who have scheduled their vacations way ahead of the APEC summit can book on those airlines and avoid the inconvenience of delays or cancellations of their flights to NAIA airports. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have already cancelled hundreds of domestic and regional flights on those busy days at NAIA terminals which will be used exclusively for the heads of states which include US President Barrack Obama, Russian President Vlamidir Putin, and other heads of state from the APEC bloc. Clark International Airport / Photo by von Craig – Eigenes Werk. Lizenziert unter Gemeinfrei über Wikimedia Commons


For example, hundreds of the flights at NAIA will be cancelled to give way to the arrival and departure of world leaders, their entourage, journalists. PAL earlier cancelled 115 domestic and 96 international flights on Nov. 15-20, 2015 whereas CebuPac announced cancellation of at least 260 flights 16 of which to and from international destinations.

This does not include yet other flights from international carriers. Can you calculate all the actual economic loss due to lost businesses from tourism, opportunity costs, etc due to the cancellations?

Why inconvenienced the domestic passengers just to accommodate APEC attendees? Why not use the Clark International airport instead? The government knows in the first place that NAIA is congested and it has inadequate runways! Why did it not build and improve the airports in the past 5 years knowing that it might host the APEC summit?

The government must consider the plight of the OFWs who have to return to their jobs on these dates. If you cancel flights that were booked in advance, it’s going to be good-bye jobs for our OFWs.

In order to ensure that APEC attendees will not be snarled in traffic, special roads were designated for their use which definitely worsen the traffic situation in Metro-Manila that will also inconvenience ordinary Juan de la Cruz like you and me.

Malacañang also suspended work in government offices in Metro-Manila on Nov. 17-20, 2015. It is presumed that classes in most schools will be suspended on these dates. How about the security measures? How much will it cost and how many policemen will be assigned and taken away from their regular functions like securing the lives, limbs, and properties of the public?

At the end of the day, the bottom line is: Did we gain something substantial from the APEC summit? Do all the inconvenience and sacrifices by the public worth the photo-ops of the world leaders with PNoy in native barong as part of the tradition in each summit?

The sad part is that despite the frantic preparation and all, the APEC world leaders and guests would realize the truth that the Philippines miserably lacks the physical infrastructures like world class airport, working road network, mass transport system, etc., which are much needed in hosting international events like APEC summit!

Maybe they might think aloud: What did PNoy and his brilliant cabinet do in the past 5 years to address said dilemma?

Or specifically what did former DOTC and DILG secretary Mar Roxas contribute to address the problems as he looks forward to be the heir apparent of the Aquino administration?


MANILA STANDARD

PAL, Cebu Air lose P1.26b from canceled flights
posted November 17, 2015 at 11:35 pm by Darwin G. Amojelar

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Air Inc. incurred a combined foregone revenues of P1.26 billion due to flight cancellations following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting here in Manila.

“PAL’s foregone or lost revenue due to Apec cancellations is approximately $18.75 million [P860 million]. PAL’s gross revenue per day is an estimated $7.5 million,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said.

Villaluna said close to 700 domestic and international flights were cancelled during the Apec meeting, accounting for 45 percent of what PAL would normally operate within a six-day period.

The country’s flag carrier operates an estimated 260 flights a day.

“We must stress, however, that the long term benefits of Apec outweigh these aforementioned losses” she said.

Cebu Pacific corporate affairs officer-in-charge JR Mantaring said revenue loss from flight cancellations due to the Apec meeting was estimated at P400 million.

“As there may still be further changes in flight schedules within this week, this figure may still change,” Mantaring said.

Cebu Pacific Group has cancelled over 680 domestic and international flights during the international conference.

The runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be closed from November 16 to 20 due to the arrival and departure of Apec leaders.

Passengers of PAL and Cebu Air with confirmed tickets within November 16 to 20 period have the option to rebook their flights, with rebooking and penalty charges waived.

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PAL’s parent firm, PAL Holdings Inc., earlier reported a comprehensive income of P6.55 billion in the first nine months of the year from last year’s P169.1 million.

PAL Holdings attributed the sharp increase in comprehensive income during the period to strong revenues, which rose 10.8 percent to P81.98 billion from P73.98 billion a year ago.

PAL’s passenger revenue amounted to P68.37 billion in the first nine months of the year, up 12.5 percent from last year’s P60.78 billion.

Cebu Pacific, meanwhile, recorded a net income of P3.56 billion in the first nine months of the year, up 71 percent from last year’s P2.08 billion.

Revenues amounted to P42.26 billion in the nine-month period, or 9.9 percent higher than the P38.45 billion posted in the same period last year.


PHILSTAR

China, Russia slam US-led trade deal (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 19, 2015 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0


President Aquino greets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 2015 APEC welcome dinner at the MOA Arena last night. Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines - China and Russia took swipes at the US-initiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) even as the Philippines sought inclusion in the trade bloc of 12 Pacific Rim economies.

President Aquino, addressing a business forum on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit yesterday, asked US President Barack Obama for help in enabling the Philippines to join the TPP, which aims to boost trade and set labor and environment standards in the region.

Restrictive economic policies, several of which are enshrined in the Constitution, have kept the Philippines out of the TPP. China and Russia have also not been invited.

“If the whole idea is to broaden trade, making it exclusive actually defeats the whole purpose of why you enter into all of these agreements,” Aquino said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an article he wrote and sent to The STAR on the eve of the APEC summit, expressed support for free trade zones and liberalization of trade and investment in the Pacific Rim.

“At the same time however, the way the confidential fashion in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations were conducted is probably not the best way to facilitate sustainable growth in the Asia-Pacific region,” Putin wrote.

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“We believe that the strategic road ahead lies not only in increasing the number of free trade zones, but also in joint development and implementation of the best liberalisation practices among all APEC members, taking into account each other’s positions and interests,” Putin wrote. “In this respect, we should continue our course of bolstering APEC’s role as a coordinator of various integration initiatives aimed at developing in the region a common and open market, free of discrimination and bloc-based barriers.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is representing his country at APEC after Putin begged off at the last minute, said yesterday that world trade rules should be drafted within the framework of the World Trade Organization, not regional groupings.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also alluded to the potential conflict between regional deals and global trade rules.

“We need to encourage equal footing participation and extensive consultation and make free trade arrangements open and inclusive to the extent possible,” Xi said in a speech yesterday.

Addressing the APEC CEO Summit 2015, Xi said, “Over many years the Asia Pacific has pursued great openness, integration and development, setting a good example of integration including countries with vastly different levels of development.”

“With various new regional free trade arrangements cropping up, there have been worries about that potential of fragmentation. We therefore need to accelerate FTAAP and take regional integration forward. We must make free trade arrangements open and inclusive,” Xi said, referring to the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific initiative, which he pushed when his country hosted last year’s APEC summit in Beijing.

His proposal includes all APEC economies.

Regional trade has become another battleground for influence between the United States and China.

The TPP is headed for a tough ride in the US Congress. Obama yesterday urged the 11 other members of the pact to ratify the deal “as quickly as possible.”

Aquino said he was expecting an invitation to the join the pact, which currently represents about 40 percent of global trade. – With AP


PHILSTAR OPINION By Sara Soliven De Guzman

The magic of APEC AS A MATTER OF FACT By Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 23, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Sara Soliven De Guzman

If this administration can turn the Mall of Asia arena into a paradise in a snap of a finger, then why can’t they have the same determination to do the same magic for the country?

Didn’t you notice how delightful the airport was?

How well-groomed all the personnel were with bright and colorful uniforms, all groomed up to meet the guests? How the policemen and other security forces didn’t use their cellphones nor smoke a cigarette while at work? How attentive they were to every moving object?

I was amazed at how the roads leading to the hotels and conference sites were handsomely landscaped with trees and patches of garden all around. How Roxas Boulevard suddenly was able to restore its splendor, how good Manila Bay smelled and how most if not all street children along with their parents have vanished into thin air?


The Baywalk area along Roxas Boulevard, was cleared out for the APEC Economic Leaders' Summit, 15 November 2015. WIKIPEDIA PHOTO

We should congratulate this Administration for a job well done! They were able to realize that dream that Filipinos all long for. But we know that they did this only for the coming heads of states and dignitaries. Why can’t they do it for us?

I bet if the APEC guests had to ride the MRT, this Administration would right away have flown in all those new trains and would have made sure everyone would ride them safely and soundly.

I always knew the Filipinos have the will and the zest to get things done if they really put their heart and mind into it. It is just a matter of conviction and decisiveness. The problem is that we seem to be driven by an outside force every time we want to do things.

We can’t seem to be consistent in our ways. Our purpose is weak and instead of wanting to improve the Philippines for our people, we are only driven by that inherent trait of ‘showing off’.

The Filipino has a bad trait of pakitang tao. We make a show to attract attention even in superficial ways. We love to entertain guests specially foreigners. In our homes, we bring out the best silver and cutleries. Everything is spic and span. We decorate our homes elaborately. We even borrow money to roast a pig and prepare a sumptuous meal.

We just want to show off. We wear beautifully adorned clothes and use the most expensive watches. We entertain our guests with a bang. We are so conscious of making everything perfect to a tee. What a spectacle!

After the guests have left, everything goes back to normal. The magnificence soon deteriorates and over time will once again return to its ‘real’ condition. The true colors will appear, the hidden cracks will surface and the cockroaches, mites and rats will come out.

If only our government can sustain all its services in a more professional way, then we wouldn’t have to spend billions to create such a fantasy. Look at the difference then and now after the guests have left. It’s business as usual!

Don’t get me wrong. I know we should showcase the country to the rest of the world. We should be proud. But isn’t it difficult to have that feeling of pride with the way this was done for APEC? How can you be proud when you know this is surreal?


Philippines President Benigno Aquino III,speaks during the APEC summit in Manila. Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo President Aquino said the Asia-Pacific region must create a “growth agenda that benefits everyone.”  To emphasize his point before his fellow leaders, the President made the Philippines’ own experience as an example, explaining how government invested in its people the past five years. “We are proud of our growth not just for growth’s sake, but because the Philippines has set aside trickle-down economics and chosen to invest in our people so that our growth is felt by each and every citizen,” he said. INQUIRER NEWS FILE

I couldn’t actually look straight in the eyes of the President as he was reading the opening remarks narrating the agenda and objectives of the summit. He was rumbling big ideas, so big I couldn’t reach them. The different leaders were looking down seemingly embarrassed or maybe they too couldn’t believe a word he was saying knowing the absolute and evident condition of his administration. How can a leader speak of something so high on the agenda without credibility?

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As P-Noy spoke it was difficult to listen and believe the words coming out of his mouth. By their fruits you shall know them. We know what the president has achieved in the past 6 years. What was he trying to articulate? Was he able to lead the APEC group to the best of his ability? Was he successful? Was this worth all the trouble for the Filipinos?

The expenses (this is probably one of the reasons why P-Noy doesn’t want to reform our taxes, he saw the expenses coming), the traffic, the lockdown and a week that put a halt to our economy? Let’s wait and see.

This showcase reminded me of what Imelda did in the early 1980s for the first Manila International Film Festival. She wanted Manila to rival Cannes as a world film capital. At the cost of $25 million, the infamous Manila Film Center designed to look like the Parthenon was built to host the festival.

Mrs. Marcos even created a beach resort near the film center where the starlets can lounge in the sun. Look at what happened to the film center now.


IMELDA MARCOS' MANILA FILM CENTER UNDER CONSTRUCTION (1981)


Imelda Marcos designed the Manila Film Center after the Greek Parthenon, shown here.

P-Noy did the same at the MOA Arena. Wow! If he can achieve that why can’t he do the same for the airports? I hope all those furniture and fixtures made by our Filipino talents can be transferred to the airports instead of selling them for a price to the public.

So what happened during the APEC Summit?

Several bilateral talks were held on the sidelines between the Philippines and other APEC economies.

These resulted in agreements, reaffirmed commitments and the exploration of new areas for cooperation:

●US – President Barack Obama pledged an ‘ironclad’ commitment to defend the Philippines and the transfer of two additional ships to the Philippine Navy;

●Canada – the Philippines is on the priority list for official development assistance and supports the inclusion of the country in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP);

●Chile – agreement on disaster risk reduction and management and study of free trade;

●Mexico – agreements on avoidance of double taxation, cooperation on tourism, and fight against illegal drugs;

●Papua New Guinea – agreement to strengthen ties, improve trade and cooperation on climate change;

●Russia – agreement to enhance trade and economic cooperation, strengthen fight against illegal drug trafficking;

●Vietnam – established strategic defense and maritime partnership and support for the Philippine’s inclusion in the TPP.;

●Colombia – talks to increase trade relations;

●Australia – signed the Joint Declaration on Philippine-Australia Comprehensive partnership and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Technical  Vocational Education and Training between the Philippines TESDA and Australia’s Department of Education and Training;

●South Korea – vowed to improve the social security agreement, and donate defense and disaster response equipment to Manila;

●Japan – started talks to finalize a deal that would allow Tokyo to transfer military equipment to Manila;

●New Zealand – sought to expand cooperation in the areas of electronics and electrical equipment, automotive, information technology, business process management,  engineering services, infrastructure and public-private partnership projects; and

●Taiwan – agreement pledging non-violence in disputed fishing zones.

The magic spell of the APEC is fading out. Who or what will cast the spell again?

Can our leaders find a potion to keep the magic alive? If the government can do it for the pope’s visit and APEC, why can’t our leaders do it for the country and the Filipino people?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

APEC economies at a crossroads By Dr. Alan Bollard (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 20, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


In just 25 years, joint efforts in APEC to lower tariffs and barriers to the passage of people, goods and capital at borders have boosted trade and growth among economies ranging from the very big in the United States, China and Japan, to the small and advanced such as New Zealand and Singapore, to the emerging like Peru, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. AP/Bullit Marquez

(Dr. Alan Bollard is the Executive director of the APEC Secretariat)

MANILA, Philippines - Global prosperity in the 21st century will be increasingly shaped by the capacity of the rapidly transforming Asia-Pacific to ensure next generation growth, facilitated by the integration of its economies that is today headed towards new and encouraging frontiers. The region’s leaders convened this week in Manila to chart the next step, undeterred by the shadow of terrorist attacks that seek to corrupt these forces.

The 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies they captain – home to three billion people and encircling the world’s largest ocean but varying greatly in size, development and political and cultural orientation – are the forefront of the region’s integration movement. They exemplify the enduring power and potential of working together to build open, interconnected markets.

In just 25 years, joint efforts in APEC to lower tariffs and barriers to the passage of people, goods and capital at borders have boosted trade and growth among economies ranging from the very big in the United States, China and Japan, to the small and advanced such as New Zealand and Singapore, to the emerging like Peru, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.

Spurred by the advantages of greater open integration, APEC members nowadays account for about half of global trade, 60 percent of total gross domestic product and much of the world’s growth. Out of these dynamics, hundreds of millions of people have moreover been lifted out of poverty and into the ranks of the middle class – arguably the most significant economic success in history!

Such progress has created enormous opportunity for businesses to sell their goods and services to a new generation of consumers in the Pacific Rim. It is in turn driving APEC members to push for new, increasingly large trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Pacific Alliance, and the ultimate establishment of an APEC-wide Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific or FTAAP that builds off of them.

The slowdown in trade growth that has put Asia-Pacific economies on a lower growth trajectory of late has added to the fervor of this pursuit. Yet there is no guarantee that a trade-driven growth formula will work for the future without adapting to the changing times. This means addressing middle and high income economy challenges that have sharply come to the fore, inequality being high among them.

The record of trade agreements on this issue is not so impressive. Though equality between economies is much improved, within economies there are significant groups who have benefited fairly little from globalization.

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Positioning small businesses to play a greater role in cross-border production and supply chains could do a lot to widen the fold. Collectively, small and medium enterprises account for over 97 percent of all firms and more than half of employment in APEC economies but a low proportion of their exports – less than 25 percent in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and the United States, and below 15 percent in Australia, Chile and Peru.

Here and now there are substantial opportunities for small businesses to partner with larger companies in the conception, design, production, marketing, distribution and sale of value added products—from blue jeans to commercial jets. Ensuring that small firms know where they exist, how to take advantage of them and have access to capital needed to proceed is key and a deepening focus of collaboration between APEC members and the private sector.

At the same time, people in the region must be sufficiently empowered to take advantage of new economic opportunities. This means strengthening human capital development so that labor forces are compatible with the needs of 21st century economies.

Examples include work in APEC to make it easier to pursue education and skills training abroad like the creation of new scholarships and internships and the targeting of one million university student exchanges in the region annually by 2020—25 per cent higher than current levels. The promotion of startups and women’s entrepreneurship through mentoring, social support mechanisms and e-channel growth, as well as enhanced mobility for people to legitimately cross borders – building on the APEC Business Travel Card program – is an additional agenda focus.

There is also the need to bolster physical linkages across the regional economy, particularly in emerging markets where rapid change, including rising urbanization, are set to continue over the coming decades. Bridging infrastructure gaps is a major point of attention in APEC, with emphasis on the facilitation of public-private partnerships or PPPs to help meet the nearly $10 trillion in required project investment just in the next decade.

This includes roads, rail, ports and airports along with sustainable power generation, water and waste management, and digital networks to accommodate the region’s next phase of growth and development. Parallel work in APEC to improve access to environmental goods like solar panels and wind turbines through tariff cuts and support their market-based deployment is also part of the equation and can help to protect the environment and fight climate change while creating jobs and growth.

Strengthening resilience against the increasing threat of natural disasters due to climate change, food security, protection against pandemics and indeed counter-terrorism, as well as structural reforms to steer economies more effectively, is further crucial to mitigating the shifting risk calculus and potential for new shocks within the system.

The inclusive economies theme set by the Philippines as APEC Chair in 2015 and embraced by members reflects these priorities. Actions being taken under them will need to be built upon this week and in the years to come to ensure the Asia-Pacific can continue to lead the world in economic advancement in an increasingly challenging landscape and in ways that can make life better for all.


INQUIRER

Filipina entrepreneur shines at Apec By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:26 AM November 18th, 2015


US president Barack Obama, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Aisa Mijeno

A Filipina who co-founded Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALT), a company that makes innovative lamps powered by saltwater, was thrust into the global limelight at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit on Wednesday as a great example of a young entrepreneur using technology to solve everyday problems.

Aisa Mijeno, an engineer and environmental advocate, thought of making the saltwater-powered lamps after living with the natives of the Butbut tribe in Kalinga who relied only on kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores.

The main inspiration to come up with this lighting application was when she learned that because of scarce transportation in this community, people had to walk down the mountain six hours every other day just to get kerosene for their lamps.

No less than US president Barack Obama engaged Mijeno in a panel discussion that also included Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who built Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce platform.

READ: Obama lauds salt lamp inventor as exemplary young entrepreneur

Obama – who pitched for greater global action to counter climate change – said he had brought one “young new entrepreneur” (Mijano) and another “young at heart but not as young large entrepreneur” (Ma) to compare notes on “why they see this (green solution) as an opportunity and why they think it makes good business as well as good environmental sense and how we collectively could be more supportive and encouraging of the kind of innovation that they represent.”


APEC spotlight: Pinay who created lamp that runs on saltwater. Aisa Mijeno — an engineer and environmental advocate and faculty member of Engineering at De La Salle University-Lipa — was thrust into the global limelight at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit on Wed, Nov 18. COURTESY OF MANILA.COCONUT.CO

Mijeno, the CEO of SALT, was cited as a fine example of “young entrepreneurs coming out with leapfrog technologies.”

Asked by Obama what else SALT needed to scale up operations, Mijeno cited young entrepreneurs’ need for support system, mentorship as well as new funding to mass produce the lamps. “That’s our main challenge right now. We’re on a critical phase. We’re trying to mass-produce the lamp so we’re just looking for someone to fund us,” Mijano said, eliciting a mix of laughter and applause from the crowd, some of whom thought it was a pitch to the big philanthropist who was seated just beside her. Obama said in jest he was just like a matchmaker.

SALT’s lamp uses saline solution or even ocean water and can operate for about eight hours for lighting or cellphone charging. “Our main advocacy is we wanted to address the light inequality gap, first in the Philippines by focusing on the people at the bottom of the pyramid because it comprises 15-20 percent of the country’s population,” Mijano said. “Most of these families live on island communities and they are not connected to power grids and they mainly use kerosene and fuel-based lamp as the main source of lighting and we know the danger that kerosene poses,” she said noting that these traditional lamps could cause fire accidents and emit more carbon.

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Selling for $20 apiece, SALT’s lamps are envisioned to provide these marginalized people with “cost-effective and environmental-friendly” lighting.

The lamp uses a saline solution or ocean water as a means to generate electricity, powering LED and a USB port where people can charge mobile devices like your phones. Having such an alternative source fuel in turn is seen very essential during emergencies and especially during disaster scenarios, she noted.

Explaining the science behind the lamp, Mijano said this was the conversion of chemical reaction to energy. The lamp has a consumable component that must be changed every six months at a cost of $3, which means that it will cost $6 annually to maintain the lamp. Obama noted that the user, in turn, would save on the cost of kerosene.

Mijeno is currently a faculty member of Engineering at De La Salle University-Lipa. She travels to promote environmental campaigns as a member of Greenpeace Philippines. Her interests range from astronomy and classical music to embedded systems and electrochemistry. She co-founded SALT with her brother Raphael, who now acts as chief finance officer.

At the APEC CEO Summit, Obama called on political leaders and the private sector to address the issue of climate change and support an ambitious agreement during the upcoming Climate Change Summit in Paris to encourage more investors to get into clean energy.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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