DAVAO CITY – Davao City was dropped from the list of cities in the Philippines to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Meeting in 2015.
But Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in his Sunday television program that he was not disappointed with the announcement.
“I’m not disappointed. I don’t feel anything. If they consider to look for another city I’m fine with it,” he said.
The city was earlier considered by the national government to host the event of some 18 Asian leaders where problems in global trading and partnership amidst the global economic crisis will be discussed.
Think-tank IBON Foundation said the meeting would likely be more of “each country looking out for itself even at the expense of others.”
IBON said, “The US, for instance, which is among the most shaken by the crisis, is among the most aggressive in looking for commercial opportunities overseas.”
Members of the national organizing committee of the 23rd APEC summit reportedly said they were impressed with the city’s facilities when they visited the city last February.
Duterte said he does not know the reason for the city being dropped from the list, but considered security issues in Mindanao as a possibility.
“I did not ask. I do not question (their assessment), but maybe one of the factors was this is Mindanao, where bombings happened,” he said.
Last July, President Aquino revealed raw information that a threat looms in Davao City from a newly-formed terrorist group. Travel advisories from Australia, United Kingdom warned their citizens from entering Mindanao.
Duterte said hosting a big event would entail huge costs and security concerns.
“It’s an added cost. I have to call in reinforcements from the Army and the police, and they have to stay awake all the time, and I have to feed them,” he stressed.
But the mayor said he doesn’t doubt the city can host big events.
The city has hosted the ninth Asean Tourism Forum in January 2006 and the international conference on meetings, incentives, conventions and events/exhibitions (MICE) last 2013. Duterte added that he finds consolation that the public seems to find Davao a safe and orderly place.
“I’m still happy that when I go to Manila, people will tell me Davao is safe, and the taxicab drivers are disciplined,” he said. (davaotoday.com)