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Local organizers mull holiday on APEC dates to avoid heavy traffic

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

To avoid heavy traffic congestion.Cebu organizers are mulling about declaring a holiday or no classes on some Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) dates in August to October this year.

Lito Maderazo, overall coordinator of APEC Cebu Organizing Committee (COC), said the option should be applied during the senior officials’ meeting.

“But the meeting falls on Sunday (September 6), so there may be no need to declare a Holiday,” added Maderazo.

Maderazo also suggested applying color coding or number coding system to limit the number of vehicles in the streets during the dates.

Cebu City Traffic Management Office (CITOM) Assistant Director Joy Tumulak said all the suggestions will be taken into consideration.

He stated the color coding or number coding system has not been implemented in Cebu.

He said these will need further study and consultation with the stakeholders.

He also stated that the declaration of holiday during those dates will really help ease traffic flow. Organizers expected 3,500 participants in the APEC.

One concern Tumulak brought during the COC meeting at the Capitol last June 30 is they lack traffic enforcers during the event.

He said they need the cooperation of other cities to augment their traffic personnel. The COC might call the help of Metro Manila Development Authority as well.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had ordered to stop roadside excavation activities in Cebu’s major streets last June 30.

All road works will also be stopped a week before August in preparation for the APEC, said DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas.

The APEC will kick off in the last week of August and would end in October this year.

Grace Paulino, head of conference management committee of the APEC COC, said five hotels were now identified conferences’ venues. These are Marco Polo Hotel, Marriott Hotel, Shangrila’s Mactan Resort and Spa, and Waterfront Hotel.

She said Deputy Director General for Conference Services Ambassador Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina will come back this July 14 to assign which conferences will be held in respective hotels.

The COC will also host orientation for taxi drivers and work with SM and Ayala Malls for possible contact with APEC delegates including their staff and families.

Lito Maderazo, COC overall coordinatior, said the visitors may shop and dine in these areas during their free time.

For security preparations, the APEC National Joint Task Force created the Site Task Group Cebu, composed of 18 national government agencies and seven local government units.

It will be headed Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Police Chief Superintendent Prudencio Tom Bañas and will also have sub site task groups.

According to Bañas, every venue or official movement APEC delegates will have a sub site task commander and whatever concerns in the site will be coursed through them.