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The Philippine hosting of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings will push through despite lack of preparations, ASEAN Ambassador Marciano Paynor assured yesterday.
Paynor, in a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace, admitted that they had more time preparing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2015 compared to the time they have for the ASEAN summit.
“We had more time preparing for the APEC Summit as early as 2012 as the previous administration had already created the National Organizing Council at that time. So all through that time, preparations for the meetings which were held from December 2014 to November 2015, 36 meetings altogether,” he said.
For the ASEAN, he explained that preparations started in 2014 but lost a bit of time due to the turnover of the administrations.
“The previous administration decided, and rightly so, to allow the incoming administration to decide how it wanted to host the 2017 ASEAN meetings,” he said.
He also added that they are finding it difficult to secure bidders for the suppliers of the subsequent meetings due to the country’s procurement laws.
“However, our administrative rules, including procurement laws made it very difficult for us to prepare because bidding process usually takes all of three months,” he said.
“If it fails, you need another three months. And you wouldn’t believe that even as we speak, we are still bidding for suppliers for the subsequent meetings, which ideally all of these should have been finished before the start of the meetings in January,” he added.
According to Paynor, of the 17 ministerial meetings, only eight have been finished out so they still have nine more meetings which need suppliers.
“The other half are still being bidded out. Wherein the past, all of these had been taken care of before the start the hosting,” he said, explaining that so-called “must-have” events like cultural presentations has to be bidded out.
The Philippine hosting of ASEAN in 2017 is a total number 137 meetings, two summits, 17 ministerial meetings, 42 senior officials meetings, and 76 technical working group meetings. So far, 51 of the 137 meetings have been completed. (Argyll Geducos)