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Paris in terror

Despite terror attacks in Paris, all APEC economies will participate in the Leaders’ meeting next week

Paris in terror
Paris in terror

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines can expect the participation of all 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the leaders’ meeting next week even amid the terror attacks in Paris, said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario.
She said she has not received any notice of cancellation of participation from the APEC leaders and representatives.
During a press briefing at the International Media Center at the World Trade Center in Pasay City Sunday, del Rosario warned people against reading “too much” into why a particular leader cannot attend the summit.
She cited as example Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send his Vice President, Dmitry Medvedev, instead to the meetings.
Medveded was Russia’s president in 2008 and 2012.
“So, in effect, that level is also something that I think deserves recognition that Russia is really . . . it finds APEC very important,” del Rosario, also the chair of APEC’s Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), said.
And although Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo chose to stay behind in Jakarta to address domestic issues, he sent Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is “one of the most ablest executives and politicians” in Indonesia.
“We welcome really his participation in APEC and I know that he will contribute a lot in the discussions of the issues before APEC,” del Rosario said.
She added that it is but right for a leader to prioritize domestic issues over attending international meetings with world leaders.
“You take it as a leader’s priority that if there’s something happening in the domestic front, they do want to pay attention to that especially since this week is a very long week for them.”
A number of international forums are taking place this week until the end of the month. Among them were the G20 Meeting in Turkey, the APEC Leaders’ Summit in Manila, and the Asean Summit Meeting in Malaysia.
President Barack Obama, for example, is due to attend the three events, which would last for seven to eight days.
But del Rosario noted that there were leaders “who do not want to stay longer than five days away, you know, from their countries especially since things are very fluid.”
Meanwhile, the SOM chair said she has not been informed by reports that an Islamic State faction based in Mindanao is planning attacks during the APEC week.
“I have not been informed about that.”
Del Rosario also refused to talk about the impact of the Paris attacks on the security preparations for the APEC leaders’ meeting.
The Friday 13th attacks in Paris killed 128 people and injured more than 200.
If there are indeed heightened security at the AELM because of what happened in France, del Rosario said she cannot discuss it in details.
“Security issues should really remain off, you know, off radar. Meaning, we don’t want people knowing what you are doing, right? But definitely, it came that there are heightened security measures.”

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.