Roads to reopen today as APEC leaders leave
Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - November 19, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Harried motorists and commuters will finally see an end to the traffic gridlocks dubbed “TRAPEC” and lockdowns this afternoon after all the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have left the country.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, an observer at the summit, was the first to leave the country yesterday.

Santos left with his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez Munera as APEC leaders prepared for their retreat at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Santos was invited by President Aquino to the annual gathering. Colombia applied for APEC membership in 1995, but this has yet to be approved.

Aquino congratulated Santos on the significant developments in Colombia’s peace process and negotiations with rebel forces with the scheduled signing of a final peace agreement in 2016.

Aside from Colombia, 13 leaders and delegates of the 21 member-economies were scheduled to leave the country last night while the others will leave today. Delegates from Australia, Singapore and China also left as of 6 p.m.

The delegations scheduled to depart last night include those from Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Mexico, Chile and Peru, while the others are expected to leave today.

As the delegates leave the country, all road closures would be lifted.

Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, APEC-Security Task Force  spokesman, said the police Highway Patrol Group (HPG) led by Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao would personally oversee the lockdown of roads to ensure smooth traffic flow for the convoys of delegates to the airport.

“As per director of HPG, by 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow (Friday), closures of roads will be lifted... because all the economic leaders are scheduled to leave,” Mayor said.

Mayor refused to elaborate on the schedules of departure of the delegates, citing operational security. 

“We are now winding down our job. This will be over before noon (today) after all the heads of state have left the country,” a police official said.

He said the police contingent that secured the PICC, convoy route and billeting areas would remain in their respective deployment areas for one more night.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Joel Pagdilao said they would enforce the same security measures for the departure of delegates of the APEC.

Pagdilao said the arrival of the foreign dignitaries was smooth and orderly, and expected the same during their departure. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Non Alquitran

ACIRC ARNOLD GUNNACAO ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION CECILLE SUERTE FELIPE CHIEF SUPT CHILE AND PERU COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS DIRECTOR JOEL PAGDILAO HIGHWAY PATROL GROUP HONG KONG MARIA CLEMENCIA RODRIGUEZ MUNERA
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