Long weekend break eyed for 2015 APEC conference

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Malacañang is considering declaring a long weekend when Manila hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) next year.

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Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the long weekend was considered following China’s plan to encourage its citizens to go on a holiday when the APEC Leaders’ Week is held in Beijing next week.

Sydney also implemented a three-day weekend when it hosted the 2007 Apec.

“We are studying that model [of having a long weekend], considering that we are estimating that 10,000 delegates are arriving here in November. We are recognizing the traffic [of vehicles], and the movement of people in the metropolis. We are looking for a lot of ways to go at it,” Valte said.

Discussions on tour packages are also on the table, she said.

Valte said suggestions will come from the Philippine contingent that will attend the APEC Leaders Week in Beijing.

“It will really be a good learning experience for us because while Apec is a year-long series of meetings, it’s the Leaders’ Week which is the largest since it will be attended by leaders of 21-member economies. We will be seeing how would their [China] preparation rolls out, including security, logistics and cultural presentations,” Valte said.

The Beijing meet is also expected to draw 10,000 delegates.

Congress has allocated P3.2 billion for the Manila APEC summit in the proposed P2.606 trillion budget for 2015.

Manila last hosted the APEC in 1996. Then President Fidel Ramos envisioned the country to be Asia’s tiger economy by the end of his term in June 1998.

The Asian financial crisis doomed Ramos’ vision.

The 2015 APEC will take place at the critical juncture of the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd whose term will expire six months after the meeting.

The President will fly to Beijing on November 9 and will stay until November 11 for the summit. From Beijing he will proceed to Myanmar for the ASEAN Summit.

APEC is a trade bloc of some 20 Pacific Rim countries. It was organized in November 1989, and the Philippines is one of founding members.

WITH PNA

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