Albay bids to host 2015 APEC Summit

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LEGAZPI CITY: The provincial government of Albay offered to host the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2015 and at the same time urged the Aquino administration to expedite the construction of Bicol International Airport in Alobo, Daraga town, so that world leaders can fly directly here for the summit.

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Locale for the APEC meeting rotates annually among its member-economies; this time the Philippines, through the provincial government of Albay led by Gov. Joey Salceda, offered to host the 2015 summit to be done over the world-class luxury island in Misibis Bay, Cagraray Island, Bacacay town.

The Philippines hosts the APEC summit in 2015, as announced in last year’s summit in Russia. Indonesia hosts the 2013 summit, and China, the 2014 meet.

“Albay is putting its best foot forward to gain APEC hosting rights. We will officially bid to host the 2015 APEC Summit principally at Misibis Bay and will make its formal bid presentation at the Asian Institute of Management today (May 27 to 28),” Salceda told The Manila Times.

APEC has 21 member-economies that include the Philippines, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

The 21 Pacific Rim countries (member-economies) that seek to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world.

“It is time to paddle our canoe together toward its destiny and its destination—greater social prosperity and economic progress,” Salceda said.

The Philippines first hosted an APEC leaders’ summit in 1996.

Salceda said the bid of the provincial government to be the venue of 2015 APEC Summit might be the leeway to expedite the construction of P3.5-billion international airport which is past the 2014 target completion of major infrastructure project in the Bicol region.

Albay, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is the most strategic and ideal host of the APEC Summit being “truly the only Pacific province of the Philippines,” according to Salceda, who is also the Regional Development Council chairman.

The Misibis Bay facility tapped for the 2015 Summit is in a five-hectare private and pristine stretch of beach at the southern tip of Cagraray Island in Bacacay.

It can be reached by a 50-minute flight from Manila to Legazpi, then a 45-minute scenic travel by land, or a 15-minute helicopter ride, or by fast watercraft in 30 minutes from Legazpi City seaport.

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