Friday, November 13, 2015

P10 billion budget for Philippine hosting of APEC is decent, needed

The P10 billion budget allotted for the Philippines' hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a moderate figure and less than the expected expenditure, director general of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council (NOC), Marciano Paynor, Jr., said.

"I always say (this) is a very decent amount… something we actually need," Ambassador Paynor said.

The NOC was created for the country’s hosting of this year’s APEC, a forum promoting free trade and economic cooperation among 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific region. The Philippines is a founding member of the APEC.

Paynor explained that the P10 billion budget went to the hosting of at least 47 meetings from January until November 13 to 19.

He also argued that the fund was not used to acquire new equipment prior to the start of the meetings.

President Benigno S. Aquino III earlier said that the Philippines could host the APEC on existing facilities to avoid building white elephants.

Paynor said that the P10 billion budget, which came from the 2014 and 2015 budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) international commitments fund, is an "investment" that stems from the Philippines’ membership in multilateral forums like the APEC.

He further said that the Philippine government needs to ensure the security of the visiting 20 leaders and heads of states coming to Manila for the meeting, and preparations for this will cost a significant amount.

"We have to be ready. We have to prepare," Paynor said.

He also earlier argued that the Philippine budget for hosting the regional forum is a small fraction of the US$95 million spent by China for landscaping the venue of the APEC 2014 summit in Yanqi Lake, 50 kilometers northeast of Beijing.

For the summit alone, China built a special conference center, a waterfront boutique hotel, and VIP villas.

Reports said it also spent US$6 billion on the preparations for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM). (PNA/PCOO News Release)

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