Hotel Sofitel, Pasay City
11 September 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III graced the opening ceremony of the 23rd Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) General Meeting with the theme: “Growth Engines for the 21st Century: Achieving Balanced, Inclusive and Sustainable Growths” in Pasay City.

Attended by 250 local and foreign stakeholders from different sectors of the government, business and academe, the two-day event will hold various discussions on several economic issues aligned with this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) priorities. This include keeping in stride with the structural changes taking place in major economies such as China, Japan and the United States, while promoting sustainable and inclusive growth in the region.

In his message, President Aquino recognized the crucial role played by the PECC not only in crafting policies, but in shaping a more stable and more prosperous Asia Pacific. He equally likened the APEC’s goal of building inclusive growth which, he said, dovetails to several of his government agenda aimed to capacitate its people. Among those mentioned were the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), K to 12 education reforms, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which, he added, has bolstered the people’s employment rate.

“Many people tend to think of the economy as the only ‘growth engine’— the idea being to focus on economic growth, and hope that benefits trickle down to the people. My administration views it differently. The Filipino people are front and center of governance agenda…They are our Boses, and we see them as our most vital partners in growing the economy. This, we believe, is the quickest path to inclusive growth,” he said.

In response to APEC’s goal towards regional integration, the President said that he had opened up key sectors to pave the way for long-term growth prospects. These include signing into law the Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines, and the law amending the Cabotage Law and the Philippine Competition Act.

PECC Chairman and Ambassador Antonio Basilio said that the General Meeting is a timely event to hold two months before the APEC Leaders’ Week to share findings on PECC’s ongoing projects, provide opportunities to discuss issues relevant to the Philippine hosting of the APEC, as well as begin discussion on issues likely to be of priority to Peru’s APEC Chairmanship next year.

PECC is the only non-government official observer of APEC that operates in a unique tripartite partnership of senior individuals from business and industry, government, academic and other intellectual circle that freely discuss economic issues and provide strategic perspectives. This is the second time that the Philippines hosted the PECC since 1999 which carried the theme back then of “The Pacific E-conomy in the 21st Century.”

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