Apec team gives thumbs-up to Cebu

Traffic not as heavy, team says; Rama gripes on absence of Apec projects

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A 32-member team for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit completed the inspection of Metro Cebu’s facilities and “liked what they saw”, a representative of the Apec Cebu organizing team said yesterday.

The inspection team visited major hotels and emphasized that security in the venues for the delegates be tightened, Carol Ballesteros of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. said.

She said the visit would bolster Cebu’s chances to be chosen as an Apec venue.

“Cebu was ‘conditionally’ chosen to host three senior meetings – the senior ministers, finance ministers and transportation ministers. It would serve as a back up venue for the meetings of heads of states which is going to be done in Manila,” she said.

Not everyone is pleased with the Apec inspection team’s visit.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said there were no Apec improvement projects in the city and the team was ambiguous on whether Metro Cebu will be selected as a venue.

“I wish it would be established soon so we can be given our job description,” he said.

Cebu officials and members of the Apec Cebu organizing committee met with the inspection team at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel last Tuesday evening.

Among those meeting with the Apec inspection team were Lito Maderazo, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and Regional Director Rowena Montecillo of the Department of Tourism.

For the three meetings, Ballesteros said Cebu is looking at 3,500 senior ministers, 300 finance ministers and 500 transportation ministers.

“The team was scheduled to leave yesterday afternoon and we’re told that they will come up with the final decision in three months after all the places have been inspected,” Ballesteros said.

“The APEC Cebu Team however is already preparing for its (hosting). I’m sure they (Apec team) noticed that. We really made an impression and that is a plus points for us,” she said.

Montecillo urged all stakeholders to continue their efforts to make improvements and prepare for Cebu’s hosting of the Apec summit in 2015.

The Police Regional Office said they will make preparations as soon as Cebu is confirmed as the venue for the major event.

Rama said Maderazo told the inspection team that building infrastructure would take time.

“We have to prepare. Even the Mandaue-Cebu City traffic problem, we need a budget for that,” Rama said.

The mayor said a representative from a national agency said that Metro Cebu’s traffic is “manageable” and that it may not be the case two years from now.

Ruben Almendras, Cebu City Integrated Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chairman, said the city needs to upgrade its traffic system in time for the Apec summit.

Rama added that he was upset that the Apec inspection team mentioned about road improvement projects in the cities of Lapu Lapu and Mandaue when they were not part of the Cebu Apec organizing committee.

He told reporters that advance preparations is critical especially that heads of states will visit the country similar to the 2007 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit held in Cebu. Reporters Aileen Garcia-Yap and Joy Cherry Quito and Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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