The 2015 APEC Summit in review

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It was a big week for the Philippines with over 7,000 delegates from all over the world converging here in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting on November 18 to 19.

Now that the important event is finally over, the entire country can somehow breathe a sigh of relief.

Still, Filipinos have a lot of questions on their minds. What were discussed during the meeting? How will the Philippines benefit from it? Was hosting the event worth it?

The effects of APEC

To ensure the safety of the economic leaders and delegates in Manila, tight security was enforced. This included road closures and rerouting schemes of major thoroughfares — such as EDSA and Roxas Boulevard — that resulted in traffic disruptions in 04_APEC_Traffic_CNNPH.png The APEC lane along EDSA extension in Pasay City. the metro. Most motorists and commuters complained of the traffic schemes adjustments, which forced them to walk to their destination.

Several airlines canceled their flights to make way for the arrival and departures of the APEC participants. Philippine Airlines said it lost an estimated P870 million, while Cebu Pacific lost around P400 million.

A number of people also took to the streets and staged protests, denouncing the APEC and the leaders of its 21 member economies.

Quiz: Can you recognize these world leaders?

Was the summit a success?

The Philippines reportedly allotted P10 billion to stage the week-long APEC activities.

Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., director general of the APEC National Organizing Council, said the expenses in hosting the event was an investment. He added that the traffic and inconvenience the summit caused is "a little sacrifice compared to the benefits that we will gain out of our membership from APEC."

Related: APEC gains not quantified, says economists

But former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the P10 billion the government spent was too much. He said that it could have been cheaper if the APEC leaders' meeting was held outside Metro Manila.

"Our job is hosting the annual meeting, make the leaders as comfortable as possible and make them secure. That's all. We don't have to spend billions of dollars for APEC," said Diokno. "There are other disruptions like the cancellation of airlines, the suspension of classes, suspension of office work. So there are disruptions also in the economy. So that's where probably the additional economic costs would come in."

Related: The lighter side of APEC 2015

He added that the Philippines may benefit from the APEC hosting, but the gains would only be realized during the next administration.

On the other hand, Economics professor George Manzano believes hosting the APEC summit was worth it. He added that the country and its fellow member economies have much to gain, especially if the economic leaders sustain open trade and investments.

"It doesn't come about overnight. It has to be sustained or there should be continuous effort and that continuous effort is reflected in the different countries hosting the talks because you need to gather consensus as you go through the whole process," Manzano said on Thursday (November 19) on CNN Philippines' Network News.

Related: APEC leaders' spouses tour 'old Manila'

The APEC CEO Summit

If the leaders' meeting was the main course, the APEC CEO Summit was the appetizer.

The highlight of the APEC CEO Summit came on Wednesday (November 18) — the dialogue between U.S. President Barack Obama, Jack Ma of the Alibaba Group, and Filipina engineer Aisa Mijeno.

President_Obama_APEC_quotegraphic_CNNPH.png Obama talked about the climate change issue and how countries and leaders should act on it now. Jack Ma, meanwhile, called for the support and empowerment of the more than 10 million small businesses in the world.

Mijeno, the founder of a company who makes ecological lamps that run on salt and water, discussed the challenges she faces with regards to support from the private sectors and the government. She emphasized that "climate change is real," even likening it to cancer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his speech, assured partners and investors that China will get back on track, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev hinted of a "joint answer" in the fight against ISIS.

What did the leaders talk about?

The APEC economic leaders met for two days and people are wondering what they accomplished in that period.

Normally, trade and economic issues are discussed at the annual meeting. But following the recent attacks in France, the APEC leaders welcomed efforts to fight terrorism.

Related: APEC leaders tackle terrorism, development issues

In a statement they issued, the leaders collectively said they strongly condemn terrorism and called for international cooperation in the fight against terrorist activities. They added that economic growth and opportunity were among the "most powerful tools to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization."

PNOY-APEC2015_CNNPH.png President Benigno Aquino III President Benigno Aquino III said factors outside trade will undeniably affect economic growth and that "our discussions must be able to identify and define the foundations for sustained and quality growth beyond 2020."

Related: Medvedev hints of 'joint answer' vs. ISIS

New economic strategies were also discussed:

  • Building inclusive economies
  • Fostering the participation of micro, small and medium enterprises
  • Building sustainable and resilient communities
  • Enhancing the regional economic integration agenda

In summary, Aquino said the main challenge for the economic leaders is "finding a way to sustain and strengthen quality growth, particularly by considering policy responses that promote inclusivity, while addressing the current domestic and external challenges to APEC's growth."

CNN Philippines correspondents Ina Andolong and Patricia de Leon contributed to this report.