BEIJING, China — President Benigno S. Aquino III did not conceal his admiration on the way China handled this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, saying he hoped the Philippines could emulate their success when it takes over the chairmanship in 2015.
In an interview with members of the Philippine media delegation here Tuesday evening, President Aquino could not help but heap praises on China for its “precise” hosting of the meetings.
“If I were to characterize one thing in the way they hosted it, especially this portion that I was actually witness to, ‘yung precision. ‘Yung fireworks, for instance—‘yung human, ‘yung video, at saka ‘yung fireworks—wala kang makikitang out of sync. Walang nahuhuli; walang nauuna,” he said.
President Aquino, in a way, admitted to feeling the pressure of at least matching what China did. He, however, said he would not preempt the plans of the APEC coordinating committee in the Philippines, which is tasked to handle these matters.
“Ewan ko kung nakita ninyo ‘yung venue. Nakita ba ninyo ‘yung painting na medyo wall-to-wall? To be honest, I was looking at it quite intensely. I was, you know, assuming na… We have the talent, but how do you actually produce something on this level?” he said.
The APEC leaders’ gatherings in Beijing were held at the China National Convention Center, the National Aquatics Centers (also known as “The Water Cube”) at the Olympic Green, and the International Conference Center near Yanqi Lake.
“‘Yung entertainment aspect na lang, kinombine (combine) si Chinese, si Western… I was very impressed with parang may hearing-impaired na may dance, and I was like trying to figure out: If you cannot hear the music, how do you actually do the dance?” the President added, referring to the cultural performance at the Water Cube.
China’s hosting of the events was very elaborate, especially during Monday’s gala dinner at the National Aquatics Center, where leaders were given exuberant arrival honors and treated to a cultural presentation and fireworks show.
When asked how the Philippines is preparing for similar events next year, especially in terms of the communications aspect, President Aquino said they are still in the process of fine-tuning the details of everything.
“Baka ipi-preempt ko naman ‘yung mga nagplaplano nitong lahat ng APEC activities on several locations. Can I just task the head of the coordinating committee to schedule more regular briefings? Lahat ng mga detalye, pati nga ang mga scheduling for those who would want to have a state visit, prior to or right after (the APEC),” he said.
“Coordination with Malaysia with regards to kung magba-back-to-back ba ‘yung APEC Leaders’ Summit and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit also, like what has happened now. Kailangan din i-fine tune ito,” the President added.
President Aquino emphasized the need to come up with contingency plans all the time in case last-minute changes arise, such as heads of state seeking an audience with him on short notice.
“‘Yung lahat nitong mga lider na ito… Katulad ngayon, tonight I’m going to Myanmar. May dadaan sa atin, one of the leaders here in APEC, on the way to Australia. So parang medyo last-minute tayong naabisuhan doon. Kailangan nating asikasuhin pagdaan sa atin pansamantala. Ako ba ang sasalubong sa kanya o magde-designate ako ng iba? Parang there’s so many of these details that I just want to make sure na-finalize na lahat ang plano before we start saying this or that,” he said.
President Aquino said he sought the support of his counterparts for the success of the Philippines’ hosting of the summit next year.
“As you know, the whole of the APEC activities is a year-round event, so my last interaction with everybody was to ask for everybody’s support for the success of our hosting of APEC next year,” he said.