22 April 2015

APEC News Releases

APEC automotive dialogue opens with emphasis on role of small, medium enterprises in global value chain
The 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Automotive Dialogue opened on Wednesday at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City, with special focus on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the global value chain.

The theme of this year’s dialogue, “Integrating SMEs into the Automotive Global Value Chains,” is meant to complement the 2013 and 2014 automotive dialogue initiatives and underscore the SMEs’ vital role in the automotive manufacturing industries, dialogue Chair, Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa, said in her welcome remarks.

She said that such integration would benefit emerging subsectors and the new energy vehicles, which is seen as the future of the automotive industry.

“Likewise, it will build up on existing APEC initiatives that foster and encourage SME participation in regional and global trade, one of which is facilitating SME participation in global value chains,” Halili-Dichosa said.

The Philippines, as this year’s host, would like to level up the discussions on SME integration into the automotive global value chain, she noted.

To achieve this, she said, they have organized a whole-day workshop on Thursday, entitled “Linking Automotive Parts Supplier SMEs into the Global Value Chains”, to foster knowledge-sharing among APEC developed and developing economies of their own integration experiences.

“The workshop is also meant to be a capacity-building exercise for the Automotive Dialogue Members for economies to learn from each other and identify the best practices,” she said.

“We hope that the Automotive Dialogue delegates would actively participate and make the most out of this gathering.”

Halili-Dichosa noted that in 2013, the APEC leaders agreed to take further steps to enhance SMEs’ global competitiveness by improving access to financing and markets, supporting entrepreneurship, accelerating the growth of start-ups, strengthening capacities for business continuity, and empowering APEC SMEs to expand into international markets.

In 2014, APEC leaders approved the “APEC Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chains Development and Cooperation,” and APEC ministers welcomed the “Capacity Building for SMEs’ Integration into Global Value Chains in Major Industries,” including the automotive industry.

Within the APEC Automotive Dialogue, SME development has been recognized as an important aspect of its work, Halili-Dichosa said.

It can be noted that in the 17th dialogue in Russia, Indonesia introduced its Auto SME Sector Development Program, and in the 18th dialogue, it proposed an additional e-Biz portal as a trade facilitation tool for small and medium industries (SMIs) and micro industries (MIs) in the APEC.

“We believe that to empower SMEs to participate in the global value chains, easy access to relevant information and good networks are necessary,” she said.

The Philippines last hosted the APEC Automotive Dialogue in April 2005, the 7th dialogue, at the New World Manila Bay Hotel. PND (as)

APEC automotive industry stakeholders must complete electric vehicles roadmap
Stakeholders gathering for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Automotive Dialogue must finish the electric vehicles roadmap during the meeting in the Philippines as part of the bloc’s commitment to environmental protection and green energy, an official said on Wednesday.

In her welcome remarks at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City, the dialogue’s Chair, Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa, noted that the world celebrates on Wednesday (April 22) the 45th anniversary of Earth Day.

It was also on April 22 in 1970 that the world first celebrated Earth Day, marking international support for environmental protection towards a more sustainable global development, Halili-Dichosa said.

“It is thus opportune that we should start work during this Dialogue to complete the electric vehicles roadmap within this year, as instructed by the Committee on Trade and Industry,” she added.

“We could build on last year’s work, spearheaded by China, as she brought focus on new energy vehicles with the theme ‘Green Ambition, Win Win Solution in 2014’.”

The 22nd APEC Automotive Dialogue, with the theme “Integrating SMEs into the Automotive Global Value Chains,” opened on Wednesday in Makati City with a special focus on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the automotive sector.

The dialogue is aimed at complementing the 2013 and 2014 Automotive Dialogue initiatives and underscoring the SMEs’ vital role in the automotive manufacturing industries.

The integration of SMEs will benefit emerging subsectors and the new energy vehicles, which is seen as the future of the automotive industry. PND (as)

Palace: 2016 election must push through
The Palace said the May 2016 general elections must push through despite the scrapping of a deal on the repair of voting machines, which could disrupt election preparations.

“The election should push through. It is constitutionally mandated and everybody should comply with the Constitution. We are very certain that the Comelec (Commission on Elections) is very aware of its mandated role of making sure that elections happen in 2016,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during Wednesday’s press briefing in Malacañang.

Lacierda was responding to questions regarding concerns that next year’s election could be postponed after the Supreme Court nullified the P268.8 million contract between the Comelec and Smartmatic-Total Information Management for the repair of 82,000 voting machines.

According to the Supreme Court, the Comelec had violated the procurement law when it directly hired Smartmatic-TIM for the maintenance of the voting machines instead of holding a public bidding.

“We have an existing law on automated elections, so we expect Comelec to comply with all existing laws,” Lacierda said.

“As to the technical concerns, we will leave it with Comelec to make sure how to operationalize the 2016 elections in the light of the Supreme Court decision,” he said.

Under the Constitution, the presidential and vice presidential elections occur every second Monday of May, every sixth year after May 1992. PND (ag)

President Aquino approves release of P2.2 billion for government employees affected by ‘Yolanda’, Bohol quake
President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved the release of P2.259 billion in financial assistance to national government employees who were affected by Typhoon Yolanda and the Bohol earthquake, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Wednesday.

The financial aid is for the first batch of 48,995 employees of national government agencies based in the Mindoro-Marinduque,-Romblon-Palawan region, the Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas, whose houses were totally, heavily, or partially damaged by the two natural disasters that struck the country in 2013, he said.

Secretary Coloma noted that President Aquino has also directed all concerned Cabinet secretaries to fast-track the implementation of all programs, activities and projects pertaining to the rehabilitation and recovery of all areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda.

“He reiterated the importance of building back better and more resilient communities,” he added.

A special cabinet meeting was convened on Wednesday to discuss the ‘Yolanda’ Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan.

On October 15, 2013, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked Central Visayas, devastating Bohol and Cebu, where 222 people perished and 797 others were injured.

Two weeks later on November 2, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall struck much of Eastern Visayas. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, an estimated 6,300 people were killed, 28,689 others were injured, and 1,061 went missing when Typhoon Yolanda hit the country. Damages were estimated at P89.59 billion. PND (ag)

Philippine-U.S. military exercises not meant to challenge China, says Malacañang
A Palace official has clarified that the ongoing joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States are not meant to challenge China’s military power.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda made the clarification after the Chinese tabloid Global Times ran an editorial labelling the Philippines “cute little submissive” of the US, a day after the joint military exercises, also called Balikatan, began.

“Of all the countries involved in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the Philippines is the one with the most tricks up its sleeves, but none of its tricks work. Can anyone believe that China can be bluffed to make compromises when others show off their military muscle? We will simply find it laughable while imagining Philippine personnel stumbling after US forces,” the English-language daily said.

“US-Philippine military drills have been conducted 31 times. But none has achieved effective leverage for Manila in the South China Sea. However, after being cute little submissive of the US for all these years, Manila has only gained a handful of second-hand weapons and an empty sense of security, let alone any real enhancement of its army combat capability. In the end, it has earned nothing but growing dependency on the US.”

Lacierda said the joint military exercises, which are being done in line with agreements with other countries, have been expanded.

“The Balikatan exercises have been ongoing for some time. It is not only for our military exercises. There has been noted emphasis on disaster response. So, our Balikatan exercises have been expanded to cover much more than military exercises. The fruits of these exercises were very tangible in the light of Typhoon Yolanda, when we saw our American friends helping us in the aftermath of the typhoon,” the Palace official explained.

Lacierda said the joint military exercises are being done for the good of the country.

“We recognize that China wants to make their own comment, that is their opinion. But we are not bound by their opinion and we certainly do not agree with how they described us,” he said, referring to the Global Times’ comments.

“I think our national interest should prevail over the comments made by that tabloid,” said Lacierda.

China claims sovereignty over most parts of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have overlapping claims. PND (jm)