It was an interesting week here in Metro Manila as the metropolis was host to one of the most high-profile international summits to be held here, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
As was explained here in a previous post, the APEC summit is an annual event in which 21 economic leaders converge to talk about various economic issues, as well as other matters that affect the Asia-Pacific region.
This year’s summit is an interesting one, not only in the light of the US-China relations and China’s moves in the region that is causing worry, (something I touched upon in that aforementioned post) but also in light of what happened in Paris a few days before the summit in which terrorists said to be belonging to the group ISIS/ISIL stormed different venues in the city and killed hundreds in the process.
And as the days went on during the summit, there was that lingering fear that Manila would suffer a such terrorist attack that would endanger the lives of the people in the metropolis, and especially the delegates in the city for the APEC summit. Thankfully, such an attack did not happen.
That is not to say all went well throughout the days that APEC was being held. Security was tight and was tightened even more in light of what happened in Paris. Many flights were cancelled from November 17 to 20. Many roads were closed, especially in the area of Manila and the Manila Bay, adversely affecting those going to and from Cavite. Parts of EDSA and some roads in Makati were closed on some days due to the events related to the summit being held there. And of course, there were those special APEC lanes that caused tighter than usual traffic in EDSA. All these inconveniences gave rise to a hashtag that carried the frustration of the general public by these things: “#APECtado.”
That frustration is not really a hate directed against the APEC summit itself as some narrow-minded parties would allege. Rather, it was frustration that the government seemed to have made some bad decisions in preparing for the event, resulting in this what some would call “madness.”
On the positive side, some agreements and achievements were made. For one, the APEC summit reiterated its call for cooperation among members in the midst of the US-China “rivalry” going on. And of course, there was a united stand against terrorism in the light of events in Paris.
On the sidelines, the Philippines managed to secure some key agreements with fellow members of APEC. Check out this gallery here for information about those key agreements.
And somehow, the Filipino sense of hospitality (the good side at least) and the talent shined through in the summit: from the warm welcomes to the showcase of talents from the design of Kenneth Cobonpue to having a Filipina startup entrepreneur share the spotlight with the likes of US President Barack Obama and Chinese businessman Jack Ma.
Then there was the social media buzz, particularly on Mexico’s President Enrique Nieto and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, AKA the “#APEChotties.”
All in all, it was a fruitful and eventful APEC summit in Manila. We can only hope for a positive outcome as a result, especially on the part of the Philippines. Now if only the stupid constitutional restrictions on foreign investment is removed…