Unless you are a participant or in the support staff of the coming summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, this is the best time to go on vacation. Anywhere. Just leave Metro Manila.
There will be 21 leaders who will be coming for the Nov. 18 and 19 meeting to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Roxas Boulevard. U.S. President Obama will be here. So are China's Xi Jinping (he has not said he won't attend) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Canada’s new-elected Prime Minister, the young and very-good looking Justin Trudeau, will also be coming.
APEC is an organization of 21 economies. Members are not referred to as countries because Hongkong, which is part of China, is a member. So is Taiwan, which considers itself independent but China considers its province.
APEC members are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, and Hong Kong, Indonesia; Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru; Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei or Taiwan, Thailand, United States, and Viet Nam.
The Leaders’ Summit will be preceded by the Foreign Ministers meeting and the private sector APEC Business Advisory Council.
Imagine the number of people who will be coming including the security personnel and the members of media who will be covering the annual summit.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have canceled numerous flights from Nov. 16 to 21 as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be closed during the arrival and departures of each of the 21 Leaders. So if you are going on APEC vacation, you have to leave Nov. 15 and come back Nov 22.
Or better yet go to places accessible by land transport: Tagaytay, Batangas, Bataan, Albay, Ilocos, etc. etc.
Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA), a risk consultancy group, issued an advisory to its clients. With their permission, we are sharing to the public a part of their advisory.
“Sources at the Philippine National Police (PNP) also note that it is possible that cell phone communications could be interrupted at times in the vicinity of the PICC and other APEC venues – as was the case during the Pope’s visit.
“Most of the areas adjacent to the PICC in Pasay City will not be accessible to private cars or individuals that do not have the proper credentials. The southbound lanes of Roxas Boulevard will be closed entirely to private vehicles, from the airport to Luneta Park, from midnight on November 16, when world leaders start to arrive, until their departure on November 20.
“The heightened security will virtually shut down major thoroughfares across Metro Manila. In an effort to reduce congestion, the national government declared November 18 and 19 special non-working days in the National Capital Region, including schools, businesses and government offices. Public schools and government offices will also be closed on November 17 and 20, though some private schools and businesses may remain open.
“The Philippine government has advised residents to take advantage of the holiday and head out of town if possible. Metro Manila’s major exit points, including the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), are expected to be heavily congested in the days leading up to the event. PSA notes that clients should expect a high rate of absenteeism from among the local workforce.
“Aside from the closure of Roxas Blvd, travelers, residents and businesses can expect widespread disruption and delays along all major thoroughfares and at all major transportation hubs across Metro Manila. Most of the security measures and changes in traffic patterns will be concentrated in the cities of Pasay, Paranaque and Manila.
“From November 15-20, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will implement a “stop-and-go” scheme for official motorcades, which essentially means that all traffic will come to a halt until the VIPs pass. This scheme applies to parts of EDSA, Roxas Blvd, Skyway and SLEX, as well as roads around Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“The MMDA has announced the following traffic schemes for the week of the event:
“The innermost lanes of EDSA in each direction – two northbound and two southbound – will be reserved for APEC delegates. These APEC lanes extend from Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
“The southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard will also be reserved for APEC dignitaries, while one of the northbound lanes will become a two-way thoroughfare for other motorists.
“Roads surrounding PICC will be closed, including Bukaneg St, Vicente Sotto St., Buendia Ext, M. Jalandoni St. and J.W. Diokno Blvd Bridge.
“Expect congestion on roads surrounding major hotels in Manila, Pasay City, Makati and Bonifacio Global City.”
What’s in this for Filipinos and why we should cooperate to make the Philippines’ hosting of 2015 APEC successful?
Started in 1989, APEC’s primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Leaders will discuss ways to fully realize APEC’s vision of united, dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community.
They hope to achieve the vision “ by championing free and open trade and investment, promoting and accelerating regional economic integration, encouraging economic and technical cooperation, enhancing human security, and facilitating a favorable and sustainable business environment. “
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.