The Philippine government has spent nearly P10 billion for its year-long hosting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings and a bulk of this was invested in security.
Before the major meetings slated on Nov. 13 to 19, more than 50 meetings alone were held in various venues across the country since Manila assumed as APEC host from China in 2014.
National Organizing Committee Director General Marciano Paynor said APEC spending has reached P9.5 billion, an amount, he described as “fairly decent” and anything “less than that we would be short of expectations.”
“This amount went into the whole year of hosting plus all the preparations,” Paynor said.
“This was not spent on the acquisition of equipment and property just all mostly for hosting expenditures. We always say that every economy will have spent an average of about the same more or less,” he added.
Four-fifths spent on security
As far as numbers are concerned, Paynor said two thirds or maybe even four fifths of total personnel complement is security.
“Security because of the very high profile nature of many of our guests,” Paynor said as he cited the current nature of global security.
The Philippines last hosted the APEC in 1996 and during that time, Paynor said the Sept. 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda attack on New York City has not yet happened nor the radical Islamic State or ISIS has emerged.
“We have no problems about ISIS or any of this other world events or organizations that are coming up that affect particular countries and their leaders and some of these leaders will be here. So, we have to be ready, we have to be prepared to ensure their safety and ease of movement,” he said.
APEC is said to be the biggest and most high-profile annual gathering of world leaders from 21-member economies.
Its members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
At least 7,000 delegates that include government officials, business leaders and foreign journalists are expected in the meeting.