The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 CEO Summit held this November, concluded in Manila , Philippines, with twenty one (21) Heads of State and over 800 delegates, including regional economic leaders, entrepreneurs and businessmen from small and medium enterprises discussing various ways to seek better regional economy growth.
The summit has had many effects on the Philippines that are both positive and negative. One of the immediate negative effects is the inconvenience that was experienced by many of the local people, primarily those living and working in the areas of Metro Manila. Many of the main thoroughfares have been closed during the five ( 5) days event, schools were cancelled for the duration of the event, and many flights were cancelled before, during and after the summit to comply with the security measures being implemented for no-fly zone. Public and private sectors in Metro Manila were asked to observe two (2) days of non-working holidays and all government offices were closed during the week of the summit.
However, we must look beyond this short term inconvenience and acknowledge that hosting the APEC 2015 in the Philippines as an important, historic event. The last time Philippines hosted the APEC was in 1996 and it will most likely be another fifteen (15) years before we will have the opportunity to host such an event again.
Although the cost of hosting this event was approximately Php10 Billion (USD$200 Million), we must be reminded that most of this amount has been spent in the Philippines, and not abroad, on goods and services connected to APEC meetings. Much of the funding was spent on improving the roads and public areas for the APEC meetings, and renovating the older buildings and hotels where the delegates will stay. Additionally, there are the expenditures that were made by an estimated two thousand (2,000) foreign media representatives, and the seven thousand (7,000) others, including business leaders from APEC who otherwise would not have traveled here. These represent revenues to Filipino business enterprises.
This has also given plenty of opportunities to local enterprises to show their wares to the business, social and political leaders of the member-economies whose influence on others is immeasurable. Delegates will have experienced the legendary Filipino warmth and hospitality, and local artisans and craftsmen were able to display their talent via APEC souvenirs and mementoes.
Lastly, the initial APEC meetings have also been scattered amongst different provinces around the country to expose them to investors and tourists. Delegates have seen first-hand the world-class facilities and excellent service in hotels where they have stayed. Foreign CEOs and business investors will also be exploring business and investment opportunities on several sectors across the country. As far as national influence and attractiveness to foreign investors is concerned, image matters. And this is essentially what hosting major events like APEC is primarily about. The Philippines was given a chance to recast its image before the global community as a new investment hub in Asia.
The Philippines hopes that the main effects of hosting this event will allow the country to expand trade interaction with APEC countries, including a new free trade agreement with Chile; join the American led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, and fortify its security relations with major allies like the United States and Japan, with greater focus on maritime security cooperation. The APEC has provided a distinct chance for the Philippines to stay at the center of high-stakes discussions, which will define the future of Asia-Pacific order.