Cebu News

RP burning wires to ensure everybody comes: Summit still on despite doubts

Serious doubts linger over whether the rescheduled 12th Asean Summit could still be held on its new date in January despite official assurances that it would.

Observers say conditions have changed since the postponement.

Heads of state expected to attend the summit in January no longer have the luxury of nine months lead time to prepare as what they had in the run-up to the original date of December 10 to 14.

For one thing, the observers said, the heads of state will have a lot of rescheduling to do in just a month and they just might not have the opportunity to do so.

The summit was postponed on December 8, two days before it was to have started, over fears that typhoon Seniang, which was threatening Eastern and Central Visayas at the time, might hit Cebu directly.

But Ambassador Marciano Paynor, the Asean Summit-National Organizing Committee secretary general, said the doubts are misplaced.

" I think they are misplaced. They ( heads of state ) are exerting their best efforts to attend, " Paynor said.

Paynor said all 10 Asean member countries have confirmed participation in the summit next month. " Even before the postponement was announced Friday last week, confirmation to reconvene was already in place, " he said. " There was agreement, without exception, for all delegations to reconvene the earliest possible time at a time available to everyone. "

The remaining issue to be settled, Paynor said, are the exact dates of the summit in January which are yet to be agreed upon by the participating countries. The NOC is also burning the wires with the summit dialogue partners, he added.

Ambassador Victoriano Lecaros, spokesman of the summit, said when a country confirms attendance it can be expected that no less than the head of state is attending.

But a highly placed source who asked not to be named said it would now be very difficult for the heads of state to reconvene on such short notice. " It is very hard for all of the ten Asean heads of state to come together in January. Heads of state are very busy people. Their schedules are always full and it is not easy to smoothe things quickly once disrupted, " the source said.

" Maybe five or six can free up their schedules within the time given but I doubt if all ten can do that. I am not saying the summit will not push through. Let me just say there is no one hundred percent guarantee. "

Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who said it was not necessary to postpone the summit, said he does not want to raise high expectations on the new dates.

Aside from doubts on the availability of all 10 Asean leaders, not to mention their dialogue partners, there are also doubts on how the summit will affect the traditional feast of the Santo Nino and the Sinulog festival, events that are known to draw very huge crowds.

But Paynor said the summit in January would not disrupt the twin events and is optimistic it would even highlight and complement one another.

" We are all looking forward to the Sinulog. The delegates are. And I can assure you they all want to come just before the Sinulog. Many of them have expressed interest, " Paynor said. (/JST)

vuukle comment










  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with