Protection of environment part of APEC agenda—DFA spokesperson

QUEZON CITY, Nov. 16 -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is concerned not only with economic prosperity, but also with environmental issues.

Department of Foreign Affairs assistant secretary and APEC spokesperson Charles Jose said APEC has an Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade, a Mining Task Force, and an Energy Working Group.

“Binabalanse ng APEC ang mga needs ng present at future generations,” Jose said.

The APEC Low-Carbon Model Town Project, according to Jose, is a good example of APEC’s initiative to focus on sustainable development and to address the needs of present and future generations in terms of environmental protection.

For this year, Jose said, this distinction was awarded to Mandaue City, Philippines during the 12th APEC Energy Minister’s Meeting last October. The other two nominees were Krasnoyarsk City, Russia and Subang Jaya, Malaysia.

Department of Trade and Iindustry Undersecretary Chito Manalo said, “Isa po sa pinaka important na pinanukala na agenda ng usapan sa APEC ay ang sustainability…at marami po sa mga action agenda are with respect to sustainability and climate change.”

According to the APEC website, as early as November 1977, the Economic Leaders' Declaration in Canada had stated that, "Achieving sustainable development is at the heart of APEC's mandate."

Meanwhile, Jose assured that the P10 billion budget for the Philippines’ hosting of APEC 2015 will not affect the government’s aid for the Yolanda victims. He explained that the country’s budget for APEC is a commitment as host economy this year.

“This is the country’s international commitment because the 21-member economies of APEC take turns in hosting, and the last time we chaired was in 1996,” he said in Filipino during the forum. “There’s a separate budget for Typhoon Yolanda, and it has already been allocated. Our hosting of APEC will not affect the rehabilitation program for Yolanda victims.”

A total of P150 billion was allocated for the Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation program, based on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP). Under the CRRP, program implementation will be done by four (4) clusters namely, infrastructure, social services, resettlement, and livelihood.

Jose and Manalo’s remarks were in response to questions on the harmful impact of industries coming on the environment with the APEC’s free trade agenda, and if the expense for the Philippines’ hosting would affect the budget allocated for victims of Yolanda. They were guests during the Kapihan sa Media ng Bayan last November 13 at the Philippine Information Agency Building. (VDCG/RDA/PRC)


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