PHL Expo pavilion seen completed soon

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THE PHILIPPINE pavilion for the rescheduled World Expo in Dubai will be declared officially complete at the end of the month, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

“After more than a year of remotely managing design, construction and implementing control measures that will ensure project efficiency, minimize the spread of the COVID-19 in the workplace and reducing ‘pandemic-based’ delays, the Philippines Pavilion will finally be handed over to the Philippines on Aug. 30, 2021,” the department said in an e-mail Thursday.

The pavilion for the six-month event will be open to the public when the expo officially launches on Oct. 1. Originally scheduled to start in 2020, the 192-nation event was delayed due to the pandemic.

The Philippines had also cut its over P800-million budget to build and maintain the “Bangkota” pavilion after the government repurposed funds in favor of COVID-19 containment efforts. The DTI did not elaborate on the new budget.

In a memo sent to the media, DTI Assistant Secretary Rosvi C. Gaetos said that although October signals the official opening of the pavilion to the public — including United Arab Emirates-based officials and media — a visit by the government and business delegation from the Philippines will be delayed to December.

“Due to the continuing restrictions on flights via Philippine Airlines and Emirates this October 2021 brought about by strict quarantine measures, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez as Commissioner-General of the Philippines Expo 2020 Dubai, has decided to reschedule the Philippine Delegation’s trip to Expo 2020 Dubai from October to December 2021,” she said.

The government had said that it aims to promote the Philippine brand, trade and investment through business-to-business contacts linked to the expo.

Royal Pineda, whose firm BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design won the bid to design the project, said the pavilion will feature the natural resources and marine biodiversity of the Philippines, its pre-colonial origins, and the migration of its peoples. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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