06 February 2015

APEC News Releases

Intellectual Property experts group steps up efforts to help small and medium enterprises to be more competitive
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) The Asia Pacific intellectual property (IP) experts group have stepped up efforts in helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be more competitive.

During the first leg of the Intellectual Property Experts Group (IPEG) meeting as part of the ongoing Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation – Senior Officials Meeting 1 (APEC-SOM1) held here, the IP experts group have focused their discussions on the facilitation of innovation and the exploitation hav intellectual property among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enhance their regional and global competitiveness.

Allan B. Gepty, deputy director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said the Philippines welcomed this breakthrough as the mounting interests in the discussion complements its push to put the SME topic higher on the APEC agenda.

“Enhancing SME competitiveness through brand development, IP valuation and commercialization is one of our priorities. We see that SMEs can leverage on their IP assets such as their brands or trademarks for growth and expansion. APEC provides a suitable platform for us to build on our programs through cooperation and sharing of best practices with other APEC economies,” Gepty said.

He said the two other priorities presented by the Philippines at the meeting are strengthening capacity for effective IP enforcement and adjudication and the facilitation of the effective use of patent information aimed at assisting research institutions, academe, and SMEs.

The two-day meeting has also strengthened the commitment of the APEC member economies for continued collaboration and support in other areas of intellectual property.

These include management and effective use of IPRs; capacity-building in promoting understanding and appreciation of IP in the youth sector; facilitating technology transfer and IP commercialization; and enhancing IP enforcement and adjudication.

“APEC-IPEG has been devoted to delve with the most valuable initiatives and proposals that have become endorsed projects on some of the most relevant topics on IP. The ultimate mission of IPEG is to make the most of IPRs in the APEC region in the sake, of building a better world,” saids APEC-IPEG chair Miguel Ángel Margáin, who is also the director general of the Mexican Institute of the Industrial Property (IMPI).

The APEC-IPEG’s statement sits well with the theme chosen by the Philippines for its hosting year.

Pushing for the promotion of inclusive growth in Asia Pacific, the Philippines has adopted the theme “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World” and names four priorities–enhancing the regional economic integration agenda, fostering SMEs’ participation in regional and global markets, investing in human capital development, and building resilient and sustainable communities.

The second leg of the IPEG meeting in the Philippines is set for August in Cebu City. PNA (zst)

First APEC Senior officials meeting starts; tackling year 2015 agenda priorities
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) Senior officials of 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Friday started their two-day formal meeting here that would focus on discussing various initiatives to expand the benefits of the region’s three billion people and enhance economic growth, trade and investments.

At the opening of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1), APEC 2015 SOM Chair Laura del Rosario said the meeting will lay down the groundwork for agenda priorities of APEC this year.

Del Rosario said these priorities include advancing the regional economic integration agenda, fostering participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in regional and global markets, investing in human capital development, and building sustainable and resilient communities.

She said these reflect both the outcomes of APEC 2014 in China and build on the Philippines’ APEC 2015 theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”.

Starting Jan. 26, Del Rosario said the various technical working groups and committees that report to the APEC Senior Officials met to discuss initiatives, policies and capacity-building programs that advance APEC’s goals of trade liberalization, business facilitation and economic cooperation.

She said best practices were shared and commitments were renewed on economic issues related to SMEs and the global value chain, anti-corruption, customs procedures, disaster management and services, among others. PNA (ldv)

APEC delegates invited to enjoy amenities of Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) Chairperson of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Senior Officials’ Meeting (APEC SOM1), Laura del Rosario, invited the delegates to enjoy the amenities of the Clark Freeport Zone during their stay for the meetings.

“I also take this opportunity to once again welcome you to Clark,” del Rosario said during the opening of the SOM1 in Fontana Convention Center here.

“Set against the backdrop of the Pinatubo Volcano—which famously erupted in 1991 and changed the color of your sunsets for a year—Clark remains to be a model of investment and business resilience.”

Clark, she said, is proud to have transformed itself from a military base to an industry hub that is backed by foreign investors.

The SOM chair also said she hopes delegates get the chance to enjoy the local hospitality, including the cuisine offered by Pampanga, considered as the culinary capital of the Philippines.

“There is indeed more to Clark than it seems,” she noted.

Clark used to be the largest foreign airbase of the United States, complete with its own international airport with daily flights linking it to major cities around Asia.

Clark Air Base was named after Harold M. Clark of the US Army Signal Corps in 1919. Clark, who was born in Minnesota, US and reared in Manila, was the first American to fly in Hawaii.

Clark Field remained an Army Air Base until May 1949, when its facilities were transferred to the US Air Force. Following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, the US Air Force formally transferred Clark to the Philippine government after a century-long presence in the area.

Inside Clark Philippines are golf courses, casinos, fine dining restaurants that resemble US suburban communities. Among the multi-national companies operating in Clark are Samsung and Texas Instruments. PND (as)

APEC meetings help promote host cities as hub for trade, tourism and investment, spokesperson says
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings provide an avenue to promote the host cities and local communities as an ideal hub for trade, tourism and investment, APEC Spokesperson, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, has said.The year-round series of APEC meetings, to be held in various venues throughout the country, is a valuable opportunity for host cities and local communities to showcase their business and tourism potentials, Jose said during a press briefing at the Mimosa Convention Hall here Friday.

“We are trying to highlight the local communities in holding APEC meetings to various venues in the country in order to spur economic development in the countryside and at the same time, to empower the local communities and promote their tourism and trade,” he said.

Jose said that considering the large membership of the APEC, which is composed of 21 economies from Asia and those surrounding the Pacific, the Philippines will take advantage of the hosting opportunity to sell its strengths and generate investments.

He further said that local communities will benefit from infrastructure development, such as the construction and rehabilitation of hotels and roads, which would provide employment.

“It is an economic chain and ultimately, that will rebound to the local communities. Thus, there are many ways that the Philippines could benefit from its membership in APEC and what APEC is doing,” he said.

Asked about Clark Freeport as host of the First Senior Officials’ Meeting of the APEC, he said that the choice of Clark, a developed city with an international airport, as the venue for a major international event was good decision.

“Clark Freeport is an ideal location for trade, tourism and investment,” he said.

Jose also said that among the requirements that should be met by the host cities are infrastructure, safety and accessibility. PNA (zst)

Inflation rate slowed down in January, says NEDA
Inflation continued to slow down to 2.4 percent last month from 2.7 percent in December last year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced on Thursday.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan attributed the drop in inflation rate to the adequate supply of basic food items, and lower petroleum prices and electricity rates.

“The lower inflation out-turn in the first month of 2015 bodes well for consumption growth. It is aligned with market expectations, given the consensus forecast of 2.4 percent for the same period. It is also within the medium-term inflation target set at 2 to 4 percent for the year by the Development Budget Coordination Committee,” said Balisacan, who is also the director general of NEDA.

He said the absence of new major economic and weather shocks that could considerably affect food supply, and the normalization of the supply of other food products due to the lifting of the expanded truck ban in September 2014 have also helped ease inflation.

Balisacan further reported that rice prices, which account for 38 percent of total food inflation, continued to ease their year-on-year growth last month, with rice stocks registering a double-digit year-on-year growth in December 2014.

The rollbacks in the prices of petroleum, kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas prices since the last quarter of 2014, owing to rising global oil supply and low oil demand, also contributed to the slowdown of inflation, he noted, adding that this resulted in reduced electricity rates in January.

Balisacan however warned of “risks to a manageable inflation rate” in the coming months.

“The lingering possibility of El Niño occurrence in the first quarter of 2015 and power woes remain an overhanging concern and must be holistically addressed,” he said. PND (ag)

Senior officials lay down APEC 2015 policy direction during first meeting, says Foreign Affairs Spokesman
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) Senior officials of member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), gathering for their first meeting here, are expected to lay the groundwork for policy direction of APEC 2015, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said on Friday.The meeting should reflect the outcomes of APEC 2014 in China, and build on the theme of APEC Philippines 2015 — “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World,” he said.

The senior officials are at the Fontana International Convention Center here for a two-day meeting to discuss issues tackled by different working groups, he said during a press briefing.

Since January 26, different technical working groups and committees reporting to APEC senior officials have met to discuss the trade bloc’s goals, such as trade liberalization, business facilitation and economic cooperation.

The delegates also met during the Public-Private Dialogues (PPD) on Services to discuss the challenges facing the service sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

Other matters in the agenda include information technology, business process management, creative industries, and research and development management.

The APEC 2015 has several priorities: advancing regional economic integration, fostering the participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in regional and global markets, investing in human capital, and building resilient communities.

The senior officials will also discuss the free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region and the global value chain.

In addition, the Philippines will lead the discussion on regulatory and structural reform developments, and the role of SMEs in the global value and supply chains.

On Saturday, February 7, senior officials will wrap up their meeting by tackling the implementation of the Multi-Year Plan on Infrastructure Development and Investment (MYPIDI) and the APEC connectivity blueprint, among others.

The APEC senior officials will meet again at the second Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings in May this year in Boracay Island in Aklan, according to Jose. PND (as)

Philippine aims to lure more investments, expand trade through hosting of APEC
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) The Philippines hopes to attract greater investments and expand trade through its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this year.

In a press briefing, APEC Spokesperson Charles Jose said that since 1989, the country has benefitted from its membership with the APEC Forum.

Jose said the main pillars of APEC are centrally focused on three areas: trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation and economic and technical cooperation.

“For trade and investments liberalization, we are focusing on policy reforms to make our trade and investment regimes more open and free,” he said.

On business facilitation, Jose said the government is continuously making it easier to do business in the Philippines through pursuing regulatory reforms.

“In the economic and technical cooperation, we benefit through capacity building in terms of trainings and seminars,” he added.

Meanwhile, the First APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and related meetings started Friday here after a series of more than 30 working group and committee-level meetings of the SOM1 held in Clark and Subic Freeport Zones.

Jose said the SOM will consolidate on Saturday all discussed agreements forged during working group and committee-level meetings.

APEC is composed of 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim including the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, China. PNA (ldv)

President Aquino adamant in capturing terrorist bomb expert Usman
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday evening reiterated the government’s determination to capture terrorist suspect Abdul Basit Usman.

Addressing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), President Aquino said, “Kung nasa loob siya ng inyong teritoryo o nasa ilalim siya ng pangangalaga ng sinuman sa inyo, inaasahan kong isusuko ninyo siya sa mga awtoridad. Kung hindi, ay gawin ang lahat upang tumulong sa pagdakip sa kanya. At kung hindi pa rin maaari ito, ay huwag makialam sa aming pag-uusig kay Usman.”

He further warned that the authorities will apprehend the bomb expert, no matter what.

“Huhulihin namin si Usman, anuman ang maging desisyon ninyo, sino man ang kumukupkop sa kanya, at saan man siya nagtatago. Walang dapat magduda: Magkatuwang ang adhikain natin para sa kapayapaan at katarungan. Sa mga naliligaw naman ng landas, na magtatangka pang humadlang sa pagtugis namin kay Usman, tandaan na ninyo: Estado ang kalaban ninyo, at sasagasaan namin kayo,” he said in his televised address to the nation.

The President expressed confidence that the MILF leadership is sincere in helping search for justice for the 44 police commandos who died in the operation to arrest Usman and Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Abu Marwan.

“Umaasa ako na tutulong kayo na hanapin ang hustisya. Kailangang panagutin ang lahat ng may sala, lalo na kung totoong may mga sugatan at hindi makalaban na tuluyan pa ring pinatay. Magandang unang hakbang ang pagkilos ninyo upang limitahan ang kilos ng BIFF,” he said, referring to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway faction of the MILF.

Marwan was killed in the operation that was carried out last January 25.

The President further assured the military and the police that they have the full support of the government.

“Sa mga miyembro ng ating unipormadong hanay: Kasama ninyo kami, sa harap, tabi, o likod man, kung saan ninyo kami kailangan; anumang hihilingin sa inyo, handa kaming gawin ito kasama ninyo. Sinisiguro ko sa inyo: Hindi kayo nag-iisa,” he said.

He also reassured the families of the slain police troopers that the government will look after them.

“Walang salitang sasapat upang ibsan ang sakit ng nawalan. Sa bawat isa sa inyo, at sa bawat isang nalalagay sa peligro ang buhay, tulad ng sinabi sa amin ng bayang Pilipino noong kami’y naulila, sinasabi ko sa inyo ngayon: Hindi rin kayo nag-iisa,” President Aquino said. PND (ag)

President Aquino accepts National Police Chief Alan Purisima’s resignation
President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Friday evening that he has accepted the resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Alan Purisima.

“Tinatanggap ko po, effective immediately, ang resignation ni General Purisima. At nagpapasalamat ako sa mahabang panahon ng kanyang paglilingkod bago mangyari ang trahedyang ito,” the President said during his televised address to the nation.

Purisima was involved in the police operation to arrest terrorist suspects, Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Abu Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, where 44 members of the police’s elite force died during an encounter with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Force and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters operation.

“Naging malaking bahagi din po ng layunin nating tugisin sina Marwan at Usman ang papel ni General Alan Purisima. Marami siyang iniambag sa mahabang proseso at maraming operasyon na pinlano para dito,” the President said.

President Aquino admitted that he was saddened by his decision.

Recalling Purisima’s role in protecting him during the attempted coup d’etat in 1987 during the term of then president Corazon Aquino, he said, “Mula noon, hanggang ngayon, marami kaming pinagdaanan; kasama ko siya sa pakikipagtunggali sa mga makapangyarihang interes na maaari kaming ipahamak. Noong mga panahong bahagi ako ng oposisyon, bagama’t peligroso sa kanyang karera ang pagiging malapit sa akin, hindi po ako iniwan ni Alan.”

“Kaya nga po, siguro naman ay maiintindihan ninyo kung bakit masakit para sa akin na aalis siya sa serbisyo sa ilalim ng ganitong pagkakataon,” he said. PND (ag)

Philippines harmonizing inclusive growth priority with APEC agenda, spokesperson says
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) The Philippines is harmonizing its national priority of inclusive growth with that of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) so more Filipinos would benefit from the country’s robust economic growth.

In a press briefing here Friday, APEC Spokesperson Charles Jose said inclusive growth means everyone would benefit from the economic growth the country is enjoying.

The Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, bringing the country’s full-year economic growth to 6.1 percent.

“Everyone will be participating and not just waiting for the economic benefits to trickle down to the grassroots levels. That is what we would like to happen by making this inclusive growth as a priority as well for APEC in 2015,” he said.

Senior officials of 21 member economies of the APEC on Friday began their two-day formal meeting here to discuss the group’s agenda priorities in 2015 in line with the theme, “Building inclusive economies, building a better world.”

Jose said the Philippine government is addressing various challenges in attaining inclusive economic growth.

“Of course the government is trying to address all these challenges in order to make this goal of inclusive growth a reality,” he added. PNA (ldv)