Noy to have 11 bilateral meets

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - November 5, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino will have at least 11 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday (DFA).

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting runs from Nov. 18 to 19.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the bilateral meetings were still being finalized so the leaders could not yet be identified. 

Washington earlier announced that US President Barack Obama would attend the APEC summit.

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said Russian President Vladimir Putin and 19 other leaders have confirmed their attendance.

Aquino promised to be a “perfect host” to Chinese President Xi Jinping should he decide to attend.

This year’s APEC theme is “Building inclusive economies, Building a better world.”

APEC channel

 Malacañang said activities at the APEC summit would be shown on Channel 133 on cable television starting Monday.

“This is part of our effort to bring the hosting to more people… as the delegates come, coverage will be restricted but we would want our fellow Filipinos to see what will be going on inside, and what the activities are,” deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said on Wednesday.

“This is part of our desire to bring the hosting closer to most of our people. The APEC channel will feature information on traffic schemes, as well as air coverage of speeches, meetings and press briefings,” Valte added.

Apart from the APEC channel, updates will also be available at Google Playstore, the Apple iTunes Store and the app, MyAPEC, which will feature APEC schedules, photos and releases. 

“We wanted it as a handy complement for journalists also and for delegates who will be covering the APEC,” Valte said.

She also disclosed the launch of a public service announcement they produced in cooperation with the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office and Radio-TV Malacañang.

The announcement, hosted by National Youth Commission chairman and actor Dingdong Dantes, explains the APEC as an organization and how it benefits member economies. It also includes traffic rerouting and other information.

“We will be putting this material online and we hope that netizens will share it and will get to know more about the APEC and why we are doing this and what we want to achieve from our hosting,” Valte said.

 MMDA ready

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said it is ready for the APEC summit. 

“We are conducting simulations on the routes… On EDSA, we put up plastic barriers that will be used for the APEC lanes,” said MMDA chairman Emerson Carlos.

Carlos reminded motorists that the stretch of Roxas Boulevard from Manila Hotel to the Airport Road in Pasay City in both directions would be closed to traffic from Nov. 16 to 20.   

Carlos said they expect traffic-related problems during the APEC meet even though the government has ordered the suspension of school and work in government offices.

“Traffic will still be a concern… because the private sector is still there,” he said.

He said the southbound lane of EDSA from Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City would be closed to traffic for as long as 30 minutes whenever an APEC head of state would pass through.

Cabinet Secretary and metro traffic czar Jose Rene Almendras apologized to motorists for the inconvenience.

“They (APEC heads of state) have their own protocols. They are used to a certain amount of security and leniency and flexibility. Therefore that protocol is something we have to give to them when they come here,” Almendras said.

“We have our APEC lanes… But when a very important person is passing through, there will be absolute closures. So there will be periods wherein there will be no vehicles allowed to move from Shaw Boulevard southbound for about 30 minutes. We do not know when will that happen,” he said.

The MMDA said most of the EDSA closures would occur on Nov. 17 when a majority of the APEC delegates are expected to arrive.

At least 15 heads of state have submitted their schedules to the APEC National Organizing Council.

Arrivals will begin on Nov. 16 with most of the leaders arriving on Nov. 17. Departures, on the other hand, are spread out over Nov. 19 and 20.

Roads open

Except for EDSA, all roads leading to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be open to vehicular traffic during the APEC summit, according to the Manila International Airport Authority. 

Passengers with flights on Nov. 16 to 20 can use other routes such as Aurora Boulevard, Andrews Avenue and the South Luzon Expressway. 

Commercial flights will push through but will be subject to delays, diversions and even cancellations. There will also be periodic runway closures as heads of state arrive and leave Manila.

Passengers are encouraged to get in touch with their airlines for any changes in their flight schedules. – With Delon Porcalla, Mike Frialde, Rudy Santos


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