The summit of Asia-Pacific leders
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 16, 2015 - 9:00am

It is a great honor on the part of the Filipinos that we are hosting the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit with no less than twenty-one heads of states or economies. US President Barrack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and all others leaders of nations with coastlines in Asia and the Pacific basin are coming to Manila to come up with agreements on the main agenda: Building Inclusive Economics. APEC is the most important and most influential economic forum in Asia Pacific. Founded in 1989, APEC is the highest echelon of economic decision-making that aims at promoting free and open trade and investment in the region.

Among those who are coming are Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball, the leader of the ruling Liberal Party down under. He is a lawyer and just assumed office earlier this year on September 15 as the 29th head of government of that country. The head of state is, of course, Queen Elizabeth II. This is the same arrangement with Canada whose 23rd Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is attending his first APEC conference. He is Canada's leader of the Liberal Party and the eldest son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He is the youngest head of government among the APEC leaders attending. Prime Minister Najib Razak, the 6th head of government of Malaysia is attending. He is the son of the Malaysia's second PM, Tunku Abdul Razak Hussien, and a nephew of the third Prime Minister Hussien Onn.

The 29th Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, the first and the incumbent head of state and head of government of Brunei Darrussalam is perhaps the wealthiest among the twenty-one leaders attending, with US$20 billion net worth in 2008. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is perhaps the least moneyed. Coming from the outskirts in the northern and central part of Java, Joko is the only incumbent president in the whole world who still takes a bicycle ride everyday. Widodo is the first and the only president of his country who neither come from the country's political elite nor from the military. But he is the head of both the sate and the government of the largest Islamic country with more than 17,000 islands and a population of 240 million Indonesians. Widodo however may not be able to make it.

Some of the more prominent leaders attending are Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Peruvian President Ollanta Humada, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Vietnamese Truong Tan Sang, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o cha, Chilean President Michelle Bachelotte, Mexican President President Enrique Pena Nieto, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Papau New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O Neil. Two economies which are not sovereign states are also represented: Hong Kong by its Chief executive CY Leung and Taiwanese Ma Ling-yeu to be represented by Vincent Shew.

The most important VIPs however, to my mind, with all due respect, are President Obama who represents the most powerful nation in the whole world, Putin, the second and the fourth president of Russia, a former KGB pillar for 16 years who has been considered one of the strongest and most powerful world leaders in this decade, and Xi, the paramount leader of the world's biggest country (in terms of population), the incumbent general secretary of the powerful Central Committee of China's Communist Party. Putin may not be able to make it but he will be ably represented by Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev. Russia, China and the USA are the most influential among the 21 leaders attending the APEC.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, our country's head of state and head of government should be able to hold bilateral talks with the leaders of these three most powerful countries and should be able to push our diplomatic agenda, including political, security, economic and trade and other pressing issues. In APEC, we should support our leader, and, even for awhile set aside our political and other differences so that the Philippine's hosting of this landmark confab should earn for our country the honor of being respected and admired by twenty other countries and economies.

This is a milestone event that we cannot afford to bungle and fail. Wes should all work on the goal that success is the only option. At the end of the day, what matters most is that we did our best and did it with excellence.



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login 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!

or sign in with