Dear APEC colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. As the Philippines celebrates its 117th year of independence, we take you here to Bagac, Bataan which features two important sites reflecting Philippine history. One is this complex serving as our meeting venue, which showcases the best of Filipino architecture and craftsmanship at the turn of the 20th century, while the other is the Shrine of Valour, located not far from here, which is dedicated to all heroes that defended the Philippines in the Second World War.
APEC’s Mission Statement spells out that the primary goal of the forum is to “support sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.” Given this goal, the Department of Finance-Philippines as this year’s host for the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process (FMP), has sought to create a long-term role for the FMP in terms of working towards the said goal. From this, we have crafted the Cebu Action Plan (CAP) that has been and remains to be the central agenda for our APEC FMP meetings.
As many of us here already know, the CAP contains four pillars, namely: i.) Promoting Financial Integration; ii.) Advancing Fiscal Transparency and Policy Reform; iii.) Enhancing Financial Resiliency, and iv.) Accelerating Infrastructure Development and Financing. These four pillars can serve as means of support for continued economic growth and prosperity in the region. Financial Integration in the Asia-Pacific can drive greater trade across the region. Fiscal Transparency and Policy Reform is a catalyst to good governance, which as shown by many economies, including the Philippines, to be a key ingredient to a successful economic growth story. Financial Resiliency, on the other hand, is necessary to sustain periods of economic growth and development, amid threats from global financial volatilities and natural disasters. Infrastructure Development, meanwhile, promotes linkages that can boost economies through increased activity and livelihood of its agents.
It is therefore reasonable to claim that continuing our work on the CAP and ensuring it as a part of the FMP agenda, provides the FMP with a role in relation to APEC’s primary goal. At the same time given the long-term view of the CAP, we can be assured that the FMP can have a relevant and lasting role in the APEC forum, and how APEC shapes the future of the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.
Since we first proposed the CAP at the Special Senior Finance Officials’ Meeting (Special SFOM) in Clark, Pampanga last January, we are pleased to point out, as we re-convene the SFOM today, that the CAP has undergone some progress. These include refinements and firming up of the CAP’s pillars, identification of timeframes in achieving the CAP initiatives and deliverables, and recognizing the flexibility of the CAP for future FMP hosts to use as a framework in setting the FMP agenda. At the same time, we have also already identified some action items to follow-upon our CAP initiatives and deliverables.
The concluding Mission Statement of the APEC reads as follow: thus “Our initiatives turn policy goals into concrete results and agreements into tangible benefits.” For our two-day meeting here in Bagac, we seek to carry on with this ideal, by building on the above developments in the CAP. We especially enjoin APEC economies to move with us in our CAP initiatives and deliverables, as we prepare our outputs to be presented at the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting. We also encourage APEC economies to continue its support for the CAP as a roadmap guiding the FMP, in carving out a role in the efforts of the APEC to foster a prosperous Asia-Pacific region.
Thank you and welcome to Bagac, Bataan.
Source Article: APEC Press Release