President Aquino is rallying the nation to demonstrate its “1,000 percent” effort and show the best of the Philippines has to offer as the country gears up to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 Summit. The President, addressing the formal launch of APEC 2015 in Makati City, said the nation must strive to be a “prominent example of how economic growth should be.” APEC 2015 LAUNCHED –
President Aquino (center) leads the launching of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 Summit yesterday in Makati City. Assisting the President in pressing the ceremonial button are (from left) Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Foreign Affairs President Aquino (center) leads the launching of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 Summit yesterday in Makati City. Assisting the President in pressing the ceremonial button are (from left) Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. (Richard V. Viñas) APEC 2015 carries the theme, “Building inclusive economies, building a better world.” Prior to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit next year, the country will host a series of meetings from senior officials and ministers starting next week. The first venue is Legazpi City, Albay. “As the clamor for progress that leaves no one behind resounds the world over, the Philippines has the opportunity to set a global example of inclusivity this year. We are rising, and will continue to rise to that challenge,” the President said in his speech. “Thus, I call on everyone here: Let us show the best of our country has to offer. Let us all strive to continue being a prominent example of how economic growth should be. Let us work together to show how we are building inclusive economies, and thus building a better world,” he added. Aquino said visitors from APEC economies will witness “the vibrancy of an inclusive and growing nation.” They will have the opportunity to experience locations around the Philippines that largely contribute to the dynamism and the rich culture of the Philippines, he added. He said the APEC visitors will also encounter the country’s greatest resource – “our people, who are kind, compassionate, and talented beyond measure” – and will see for themselves an archipelago connected through a web of inclusiveness. “One week from now, we will be demonstrating the 1000 percent effort – the first visitors for APEC 2015 will set foot in our country, and the Philippines will have the distinct privilege of hosting the next chapter in one of the largest joint efforts to improve trade and cooperation among major economies. Here, within our communities, leaders from government and the private sector will map out the future of the Asia-Pacific,” Aquino said. Aquino explained that the Philippines decided to orient APEC 2015 toward making certain that the growth has tangible effects on the lives of all peoples. “This explains our theme: ‘Building inclusive economies, building a better world.’ I am confident that, with our country’s remarkable turnaround in recent years, our story and our experiences can certainly enrich the discussions on this topic,” he added. The President also trumpeted the country’s economic resurgence, citing the robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth, higher competitiveness ranking, renewed investor confidence, and string of investment grade ratings. From 2010 to 2013, Aquino said GDP growth has been recorded at an average of 6.3 percent. The average growth from 2006 to 2009 was only 4.3 percent. “On top of this, despite the many challenges we have had to face, GDP growth over the first three quarters of 2014 has remained strong at 5.8 percent, with manufacturing continuing to be one of the main contributors. On average, growth since 2010 has been more industry – and investment-driven, as opposed to the past, when growth was disproportionately reliant on remittance-driven consumption,” Aquino said. “Today, we see a stark change as investments continue to flow in, widening the horizon of opportunities, empowering our domestic consumer base, and helping us grow more resistant to shocks in the global economy, he added. Aquino also highlighted the progress of the public-private partnership program as proof of the revitalized business environment. He said eight solicited PPP projects worth P62.6 billion or $1.3 billion have been awarded. “This is more than the six PPP projects completed by the past three administrations combined,” he added. Aquino, however, admitted that true success cannot be measured by economic numbers but by how these gains have become meaningful to people. “After all, the only real growth is inclusive growth, which has been the north star of all our government’s initiatives,” he said. Among the social interventions cited by the President were Conditional Cash Transfer Program, construction of more classrooms, and skills training program for workers to be more competitive.