Press Release
September 10, 2012

APEC Should Be More Relevant to Filipinos - Legarda

In light of the conclusion of the Vladivostok APEC Summit 2012 and the upcoming Manila APEC Summit in 2015, Senator Loren Legarda today said that efforts should be made in order for APEC to be more relevant to all Filipinos, emphasizing that APEC is ultimately about people.

"We hosted the APEC Leaders' meeting in 1996. It was a time when many did not understand what trade and investment liberalization and facilitation meant. Sixteen years, hence, can we say our people now understand how APEC was able to improve their lives?" she said.

APEC, or the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, accounts for approximately 40 percent of the world's population, 54 percent of the world's Gross Domestic Product, and about 44 percent of world trade. This year's priorities were trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, strengthening food security, establishing reliable supply chains, and intensive cooperation to foster innovative growth.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign relations, stressed that the value of APEC does not rest on trade and investment statistics, but on how much its benefits trickle down to the poor.

"APEC should strive to pursue its goal of trade and investment facilitation to generate more jobs, provide food on the table, enhance capacities, promote education, harness sustainable development, and promote inclusive growth in the region. At the end of the day, APEC is not about business nor is it about trade; it is about its people," she explained.

The Senator also said that there is a pressing need to make sure that Filipinos are able to develop competitive advantage in key economic sectors in order for the Philippines to make a substantial contribution to the level of trade between and across APEC economies.

"We need to capacitate our farmers, our industries, and other sectors. We need to strengthen them, including our MSMEs so they can equally become competitive in meeting the region's needs for goods and services," she detailed.

"We need to take advantage of the vast opportunities that APEC's economic and technical cooperation offers to prepare us for a more intense level of competition in an era of free trade," Legarda stressed.

On the issues of environmental conservation and sustainable development, Legarda said that promotion of low-emission energy strategy needs to be enhanced and the Philippines can be a showcase in this area by fully developing its renewable energy resources of which it has abundant supply.

Furthermore, Legarda welcomed leaders' initiatives to ensure sustainable management of marine ecosystems. She also lauded the relevant and timely cooperation toward improving disaster prevention, response and recovery, including support for people affected by disasters and emergencies.

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