The government has set up a traffic rerouting scheme around Metro Manila from November 16 to 20 in line with the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting.
In a statement on Monday, Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the rerouting scheme was made to minimize inconvenience to the public even as November 18 to 19, which are the specific dates of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, have been declared as special non-working holiday in Metro Manila.
Special APEC lanes, he added, will be set up along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and Roxas Boulevard.
The two innermost lanes of EDSA, both the south-bound and north-bound, will be allotted for APEC-designated vehicles while the south-bound side of Roxas Boulevard will be for APEC vehicles only.
“The entire northbound side–which will be made two-way–will remain open for non-APEC vehicles,” Lacierda said.
Also, several roads around the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex and the Mall of Asia will be closed to traffic.
Lacierda said a daytime truck ban will also be implemented along the South Truck Route and trucks can only use this route from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
A 24-hour truck ban, on the other hand, will be implemented along Roxas Boulevard during the five-day period.
Lacierda said the traffic rerouting scheme is “necessary to ensure the security of our APEC
visitors, and to decongest their routes as they travel between venues.”
“Again, we wish to emphasize that the Philippines stands to reap many benefits from this hosting, which has already boosted our reputation as a prime tourism and business destination. It is our hope that the public will be able to work with our traffic and security officers toward a successful conclusion to our APEC hosting year,” he added.
The APEC CEO Summit will be held in Manila from November 16 to 17 while the 21 economic leaders or heads of states from member-economies are expected to gather in Manila from November 18 to 19 for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM).
The AELM will be the concluding event for the 44 APEC meetings hosted by the country this year.
It is the second time for the Philippines to host an APEC Summit (the first was in 1996). It is expected to host the event after 21 years.
APEC is composed of 21 member-economies including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
Pressure is on the Philippine government to leave a positive impression to its guests in the concluding events of the APEC Summit this month.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said it is an opportune time for the Philippines to receive high-level delegates from governments and business communities in the Asia Pacific through its APEC hosting to showcase the economic growth of the country as well as opportunities in the local market.
“[In] these particular meetings, the most important is the impression we leave to our visitors, the economic leaders and business leaders. We have to make a positive impression to these guys,” Domingo added.
He said the Philippines’ APEC hosting this year is well-timed with the country’s robust economic growth seen attracting business leaders to expand trade and investment activities here and for economic leaders to explore stronger economic ties with the Philippines.
Through the APEC hosting, Domingo added, the Philippines can prove its potential to be one of the top 20 largest economies in the world by 2050, as projected by reputable banking companies Goldman Sachs and HSBC.
“The Philippines is in a very good position in moving forward, not only from the country’s view but from financial institutions and economists also. The Philippines is in a long-term strong growth trajectory,” the DTI chief said.
“Definitely, APEC is very important because this is one of the few opportunities for our leader, for the Philippines to interact with other economic leaders… They [economic leaders]do have bilateral meetings. You hardly get that unless you will have [a]state visit,” the official added.
The APEC Summit this year will be the sixth and last APEC meeting that will be attended by President Benigno Aquino 3rd during his administration, which will bow out next year.