A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have been depicted as winged, four-legged, capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence; the earliest attested dragons resemble giant snakes. Dragon-like creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Indo-European and Near Eastern mythologies. Famous prototypical dragons include the mušḫuššu of ancient Mesopotamia; the popular western image of a dragon as winged, four-legged, capable of breathing fire is an invention of the High Middle Ages based on a conflation of earlier dragons from different traditions. In western cultures, dragons are portrayed as monsters to be tamed or overcome by saints or culture heroes, as in the popular legend of Saint George and the Dragon.
They are said to have ravenous appetites and to live in caves, where they hoard treasure. These dragons appear in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin; the word "dragon" has come to be applied to the Chinese lung, which are associated with good fortune and are thought to have power over rain. Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal companions. Dragons were identified with the Emperor of China, during Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles; the word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin: draconem meaning "huge serpent, dragon", from Ancient Greek δράκων, drákōn "serpent, giant seafish".
The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not mythological. The Greek word δράκων is most derived from the Greek verb δέρκομαι meaning "I see", the aorist form of, ἐδρακόμην. Dragon-like creatures appear in all cultures around the globe. Nonetheless, scholars dispute where the idea of a dragon originates from and a wide variety of theories have been proposed. In his book An Instinct for Dragons, anthropologist David E. Jones suggests a hypothesis that humans, just like monkeys, have inherited instinctive reactions to snakes, large cats, birds of prey, he cites a study which found that 39 people in a hundred are afraid of snakes and notes that fear of snakes is prominent in children in areas where snakes are rare. The earliest attested dragons all bear snakelike attributes. Jones therefore concludes that the reason why dragons appear in nearly all cultures is because of humans' innate fear of snakes and other animals that were major predators of humans' primate ancestors. Dragons are said to reside in "dank caves, deep pools, wild mountain reaches, sea bottoms, haunted forests", all places which would have been fraught with danger for early human ancestors.
In her book The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs and Myth in Greek and Roman Times, Adrienne Mayor argues that some stories of dragons may have been inspired by ancient discoveries of fossils belonging to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. She argues that the dragon lore of northern India may have been inspired by "observations of oversized, extraordinary bones in the fossilbeds of the Siwalik Hills below the Himalayas" and that ancient Greek artistic depictions of the Monster of Troy may have been influenced by fossils of Samotherium, an extinct species of giraffe whose fossils are common in the Mediterranean region. In China, a region where fossils of large prehistoric animals are common, these remains are identified as "dragon bones" and are used in Chinese traditional medicine. Mayor, however, is careful to point out that not all stories of dragons and giants are inspired by fossils and notes that Scandinavia has many stories of dragons and sea monsters, but has long "been considered barren of large fossils."
In one of her books, she states that "Many dragon images around the world were based on folk knowledge or exaggerations of living reptiles, such as Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, alligators, or, in California, alligator lizards." Ancient peoples across the Near East believed in creatures similar to what modern people call "dragons". These ancient peoples were unaware of the existence of dinosaurs or similar creatures in the distant past. References to dragons of both benevolent and malevolent characters occur throughout ancient Mesopotamian literature. In Sumerian poetry, great kings are compared to the ušumgal, a gigantic, serpentine monster. A dragon-like creature with the foreparts of a lion and the hind-legs and wings of a bird appears in Mesopotamian artwork from the Akkadian Period until the Neo-Babylonian Period; the dragon is shown with its mouth open. It may have been known as the nā’iru, which means "roaring weather beast", may ha
Secretary of Finance (Philippines)
The Secretary of Finance is the Cabinet of the Philippines member in charge of the Department of Finance. The current Secretary is Carlos Dominguez III, who assumed office on June 30, 2016. Acting Capacity DOF website
Metropolitan Manila is the seat of government and one of the three defined metropolitan areas of the Philippines. It is known as the National Capital Region, is known as Metro Manila or Manila, it is made up of 16 cities namely: the City of Manila, Quezon City, Las Piñas, Malabon, Marikina, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasig, San Juan and Valenzuela, as well as the municipality of Pateros. The region encompasses an area of 619.57 km2 and has a population of 12,877,253 as of 2015. It is the most densely populated region of the Philippines, it is the 9th most populous metropolitan area in Asia and the 5th most populous urban area in the world. The region is the center of culture, economy and government of the Philippines. Designated as a global power city, NCR exerts a significant impact on commerce, media, fashion, technology and entertainment, both locally and internationally, it is the home to all the consulates and embassies in the Philippines, thereby making it an important center for international diplomacy in the country.
Its economic power makes the region the country's premier center for commerce. The region accounts for 37.2% of the gross domestic product of the Philippines. The region was established in 1975 through Presidential Decree No. 824 in response to the needs to sustain the growing population and for the creation for the center of political power and the seat of the Government of the Philippines. The Province of Manila, the predecessor entity of the region, is one of the first eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines at the end of the 19th century. Manila's role in the Revolution is honored in the Flag of the Philippines, where the sun's eight rays symbolize the eight revolutionary provinces. A historical province known as Manila encompassed territories once held by various pre-Hispanic polities; this included the well-known Pasig River delta settlements of Maynila and Tondo, but smaller settlements such as those at Tambobong, Taguig and the fortified polity of Cainta.
It became the capital of the colonial Philippines, with Manila serving as the center of colonial power. In 1898, it included the City of 23 other municipalities. Mariquina served as the capital from 1898–1899, just as when the sovereignty of the Philippines was transferred to the United States; the province was dissolved and most of it was incorporated to the newly created province of Rizal in 1901. Since the Spanish colonial period, Manila was considered as one of the original global cities; the Manila galleon was the first known commercially traveled trade route that sailed the Pacific for 250 years, bringing to Spain their cargoes of luxury goods, economic benefits, cultural exchange. During the American period, at the time of the Philippine Commonwealth, American architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham was commissioned to create the grand Plan of Manila to be approved by the Philippine Government; the creation of Manila in 1901 is composed of the places and parishes of Binondo, Intramuros, Manila, Quiapo, San Andrés Bukid, San Fernando de Dilao, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana de Sapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo.
Meanwhile, the towns and parishes of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Pasig, Parañaque, Navotas, San Juan del Monte, San Pedro de Macati, San Felipe Neri and the Taguig-Pateros area were incorporated into the province of Rizal. Pasig serves as its provincial capital. In 1939, President Quezon established Quezon City with a goal to replace Manila as the capital city of the country. A masterplan for Quezon City was completed; the establishment of Quezon City meant the demise of the grand Burnham Plan of Manila, with funds being diverted for the establishment of the new capital. World War II further resulted in the loss most of the developments in the Burnham Plan, but more the loss of more than 100,000 lives at the Battle of Manila in 1945. On, Quezon City was declared as the national capital in 1948; the title was re-designated back to Manila in 1976 through Presidential Decree No. 940 owing to its historical significance as the uninterrupted seat of government of the Philippines since the Spanish colonial period.
Presidential Decree No. 940 states that Manila has always been to the Filipino people and in the eyes of the world, the premier city of the Philippines being the center of trade, commerce and culture. During the war, President Manuel L. Quezon created the City of Greater Manila as an emergency measure, merging the cities of Manila and Quezon City, along with the municipalities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Pasig, Parañaque, Navotas, San Juan del Monte, San Pedro de Macati, San Felipe Neri and the Taguig-Pateros area. Jorge Vargas was appointed as its mayor. Mayors in the cities and municipalities included in the City of Greater Manila served as vice mayors in their town; this was in order to ensure Vargas, Quezon's principal lieutenant for administrative matters, would have a position of authority recognized under international military law. The City of Greater Manila was abolished by the Japanese with the formation of the Philippine Executive Commission to govern the occupied regions of the country.
The City of Greater Manila served as a model for the present-day Metro Manila and the administrative functions of the Governor of Metro Manila, established during the Marcos administration. On November 7, 1975, Metro Manila was formally established th
Álvaro del Portillo
Blessed Álvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano was a Spanish engineer and Roman Catholic bishop. He served as the prelate of Opus Dei between 1982 and 1994 as the successor to Saint Josemaría Escrivá. Luminaries such as Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Carlo Caffarra have praised Portillo as a faithful servant of God. John Paul II referred to him as a "good and faithful servant" while Caffarra dubbed him a "disciple of Christ", his cause of sainthood commenced on 21 January 2004 after being titled as a Servant of God. The confirmation of his heroic virtue on 28 June 2012 allowed for Pope Benedict XVI to name him as Venerable, he was beatified on 27 September 2014 in Madrid in a mass that Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over on the behalf of Pope Francis. Alvaro del Portillo was born in Madrid on 11 March 1914, he was the third of eight children to the devout Ramón del Portillo Pardo and Clementina Diez de Solano Portillo. He was baptized on 17 March in the parish of Saint Joseph, he studied civil engineering and after obtaining his doctorate at the University of Madrid taught at its School of Engineering.
He worked with the Bureau of Highways and Bridges in the provinces crossed by the rivers Júcar and Ebro. He received his Confirmation on 28 December 1916 from the Bishop of Siguenza Eustaquio Nieto y Martín and went on to receive his First Communion on 12 May 1921. In 1935, he joined Opus Dei and was subsequently ordained to the priesthood on June 25, 1944 by Bishop Leopoldo Eijo y Garay of Madrid as one of the first three men ordained for Opus Dei He continued his studies to obtain a doctorate in Philosophy and Letters in history in 1944 from Central University of Madrid, with a dissertation entitled Discoveries and Exploration on the California Coast. In 1948 he earned a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum He dedicated himself to the ministry and government of Opus Dei as its Secretary General. During the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, he worked in several Dicasteries of the Holy See, he met with that pontiff in a private audience on 4 June 1943 and met with Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini on the following 17 June.
In 1963, he was named by Pope John XXIII as a consultant on the Pontifical Commission for the revision of the Code of Canon Law. Pope Paul VI named him consultant on several post-Conciliar commissions. In 1975, he was chosen general president of the Opus Dei and successor of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, in 1982, the Holy See appointed him as the first Prelate of Opus Dei. In 1991, he was consecrated a bishop by Pope John Paul II, with Archbishops Giovanni Battista Re and Justin Francis Rigali serving as co-consecrators; that same year, he attended World Youth Day in Czestochowa. He has written extensively about pastoral and ecclesiological matters that examine among others, the role of the lay faithful in the Roman Catholic Church, the human side of priestly formation, the dynamics and functionality of pastoral structures; as Prelate, he served as Grand Chancellor of the University of Piura in Peru. Shortly after his 80th birthday, he returned to Rome on a pilgrimage from the Holy Land, he died shortly thereafter.
He had celebrated his last Mass at the Church of the Cenacle. That day, Pope John Paul II came to pray before Bishop del Portillo’s remains, which now lie in the crypt of the Church of the Prelature, Our Lady of Peace at Bruno Buozzi 75, Rome; the history of del Portillo's involvement is as follows: May 2, 1959: named Consultor of the congregation of the Council. October 4, 1962: named conciliar “Peritus.” November 4, 1962: named “Peritus” of the Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and Christian People. September 29 – December 1963: during the Second Session of the Council, the Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and the Christian People, of which D. Alvaro was Secretary, was charged to synthesize into a single conciliar decree, he coordinated the work of the members of the Commission which became a conciliar text of a single chapter subdivided into 10 parts. According to Salvador Bernal, his biographer: Del Portillo was the person who argued that there be a specific Decree for priests.
One of the decisions of the Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and the Christian People was "defend centuries-old traditions against those who regarded them as mere pietism. It discussed the presence of the priest in the world, why he needed a good formation in the basic human virtues in order to serve the men and women of his time, but it warned that priests should not adopt lay lifestyles, much less take on commitments of a partisan political nature. It asserted the freedom to join associations which in one way or another could help them achieve personal sanctification in the carrying out of their priestly ministry.” “Not a week had gone by after the close of the Council when Cardinal Ciriaci, president of the commission of which Don Alvaro had been secretary, sent him a note expressing heartfelt gratitude and congratulations for the happy conclusion of a great achievement.” The note said: “You steered to a safe harbor your decree, by no means the least important of the decrees and co
Opus Dei, formally known as the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, is an institution of the Catholic Church which teaches that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. The majority of its membership are lay people. Opus Dei is Latin for "Work of God". Opus Dei was founded in Spain in 1928 by Catholic saint and priest Josemaría Escrivá and was given final Catholic Church approval in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. St. John Paul II made it a personal prelature in 1982 by the apostolic constitution Ut sit; as of 2016, there were 94,776 members of the Prelature: 2,109 priests. These figures do not include the diocesan priest members of Opus Dei's Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, estimated to number 2,000 in the year 2005. Members are in more than 90 countries. About 70% of Opus Dei members live in their private homes, leading traditional Catholic family lives with secular careers, while the other 30% are celibate, of whom the majority live in Opus Dei centers. Aside from their personal charity and social work, Opus Dei members organize training in Catholic spirituality applied to daily life.
Opus Dei was founded by a Catholic priest, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, on 2 October 1928 in Madrid, Spain. According to Escrivá, on that day he experienced a vision in which he "saw Opus Dei", he gave the organization the name "Opus Dei", which in Latin means "Work of God", in order to underscore the belief that the organization was not his work, but was rather God's work. Throughout his life, Escrivá held. Escrivá summarized Opus Dei's mission as a way of helping ordinary Christians "to understand that their life... is a way of holiness and evangelization... And to those who grasp this ideal of holiness, the Work offers the spiritual assistance and training they need to put it into practice."Initially, Opus Dei was open only to men, but in 1930, Escrivá started to admit women, based on what he believed to be a communication from God. In 1936, the organization suffered a temporary setback with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, as many Catholic priests and religious figures, including Escrivá, were forced into hiding.
The many atrocities committed during the civil war included the murder and rape of religious figures by anti-Franco Anarchists. After the civil war was won by General Francisco Franco, Escrivá was able to return to Madrid. Escrivá himself recounted that it was in Spain where Opus Dei found "the greatest difficulties" because of traditionalists who he felt misunderstood Opus Dei's ideas. Despite this, Opus Dei flourished during the years of the Franquismo, spreading first throughout Spain, after 1945, expanding internationally. In 1939, Escrivá published The Way, a collection of 999 maxims concerning spirituality for people involved in secular affairs. In the 1940s, Opus Dei found an early critic in the Jesuit Superior General Wlodimir Ledóchowski, who told the Vatican that he considered Opus Dei "very dangerous for the Church in Spain," citing its "secretive character" and calling it "a form of Christian Masonry."In 1947, a year after Escrivá moved the organization's headquarters to Rome, Opus Dei received a decree of praise and approval from Pope Pius XII, making it an institute of "pontifical right", i.e. under the direct governance of the Pope.
In 1950, Pius XII granted definitive approval to Opus Dei, thereby allowing married people to join the organization, secular clergy to be admitted to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. In 1975, Escriva was succeeded by Álvaro del Portillo. In 1982, Opus Dei was made into a personal prelature; this means that Opus Dei is part of the universal Church, the apostolate of the members falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Prelate of Opus Dei wherever they are. As to "what the law lays down for all the ordinary faithful", the lay members of Opus Dei, being no different from other Catholics, "continue to be... under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop", in the words of John Paul II's Ut Sit. In 1994, Javier Echevarria became Prelate upon the death of his predecessor. One-third of the world's bishops sent letters petitioning for the canonization of Escrivá. Escriva was beatified in 1992 in the midst of controversy prompted by questions about Escriva's suitability for sainthood. In 2002 300,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square on the day Pope John Paul II canonized Josemaría Escrivá.
According to one author, "Escrivá is... venerated by millions". There are other members whose process of beatification has been opened: Ernesto Cofiño, a father of five children and a pioneer in pediatric research in Guatemala. During the pontificate of John Paul II, two members of Opus Dei, Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne and Julián Herranz Casado, were made cardinals. In September 2005, Pope Benedict XVI blessed a newly installed statue of Josemaría Escrivá placed in an outside wall niche of St Peter's Basilic
Pasig the City of Pasig, or known as Pasig City, is a 1st class urbanized city in Metro Manila, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 755,300 people. Located along the eastern border of Metro Manila, Pasig is bordered on the west by Quezon City and Mandaluyong; the city shares its name with the Pasig River which runs through it and forms its southwestern and southeastern borders with Makati and Taguig while the Marikina River forms its western border with Quezon City. The artificial Manggahan Floodway, built in 1986, begins at its confluence with the Marikina River in its northeast. A rural settlement, Pasig is residential and industrial, but has been becoming commercial in recent years after the construction of the Ortigas Center business district in its west; the city is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pasig, based in Pasig Cathedral, a landmark built around the same time as the town's foundation in 1573. Pasig was part of Rizal province before the formation of Metro Manila, the National Capital Region of the country.
The seat of government of Rizal was hosted in Pasig at the old Rizal Provincial Capitol until a new capitol was opened in Antipolo, within Rizal's jurisdiction in 2009. However it remains official capital of the province; the city's name Pasig was believed to have come from the old Sanskrit word "pasega", meaning "sand", which refers to the tribal community beside the sandy edges of the river. Some historians believed that El Pasig came from "Legazpi" (Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Basque explorer well known for being involved in the "Sanduguan", was the first Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies, it was pronounced "mapaksik" by the Pre-Hispanic Chinese inhabitants of Manila. "Mapaksik" became "Pah-sik", was changed to what is now "Pasig". It may have come from the Tagalog word "dalampasigan", which means "riverbank". According to Jose Villa Panganiban, the former director of the Institute of National Language, "Pasig" is another ancient Sanskrit word meaning "a waterway coming from one body of water to another," which describes the river because its flow starts from Laguna de Bay, leading to Manila Bay.
The dry season runs through the months of November to April, while the wet season starts in May and lasts to November. The wet season reaches its peak in the month of August. Maximum rainfall in Muntinlupa occurs from the month of June to September; the average annual of rainfall is 2,014.8 millimeters with a peak of 420.0 millimeters in July and a low 26.9 millimeters in April. The highest temperature occurs during the month of April and May while the lowest occurs during the months of January & February; the Philippines, due to its geographical location, is one of the Asian countries affected by typhoons. It is located within the so-called “typhoon belt”. Typhoon season starts from June and ends in November. However, the rest of the months are not free of the typhoons since they are unpredictable in nature and might enter the country anytime of the year. There are no surviving firsthand accounts of the history of Pasig before Spanish colonizers arrived in 1573 and established the settlement which they called the Ciudad-Municipal de Pasig.
However, surviving genealogical records and folk histories speak of a thriving indigenous community on the banks of the Bitukang Manok river, which became modern-day Pasig. The greatest rulers of this pre-colonial polity are named Rajah Lontok and Dayang Kalangitan by the legends, which say that they are related to the pre-colonial rulers of Tondo and Maynila; the creek was given the name "Bitukang Manok", due to the serpentine shape of its waterway. Among its early dwellers were Ethnic Malays, the Chinese from Southern China, the Indigenous Tinguian nomads who migrated from the deep jungles of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range; the Bitukang Manok was once a principal tributary of the Marikina River. The Spanish colonizers called the creek "Rio de Pasig"; the first stretch of the Bitukang Manok became known as the "Pariancillo", where its shoreline was once settled by Chinese and Malay merchants to trade their goods with the natives, until it developed up to the 1970s as the city's main public market.
The creek contributed enormously to the economic growth of Pasig during the Spanish Colonial Era, through irrigation of its wide paddy fields, by being the progressive center of barter trade. The Bitukang Manok known as the "Parian Creek", had once linked the Marikina River with the "Antipolo River". Before the Manggahan Floodway was built in 1986, The Parian Creek was connected to the Sapang Bato-Buli Creek, the Kasibulan Creek, the Palanas Creek (leaving Antipolo through
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is an inter-governmental forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Inspired from the success of Association of Southeast Asian Nations ’s series of post-ministerial conferences launched in the mid-1980s, the APEC was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world. Headquartered in Singapore, the APEC is recognised as one of the oldest forums and highest-level multilateral blocs in the Asia-Pacific region, exerts a significant global influence. An annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is attended by the heads of government of all APEC members except Republic of China; the location of the meeting rotates annually among the member economies, a famous tradition, followed for most summits, involves the attending leaders dressing in a national costume of the host country. APEC has three official observers: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
APEC's Host Economy of the Year is considered to be invited in the first place for geographical representation to attend G20 meetings following G20 guidelines. The APEC was inspired when ASEAN’s series of post-ministerial conferences, launched in the mid-1980s, had demonstrated the feasibility and value of regular conferences among ministerial-level representatives of both developed and developing economies. By 1989, the post ministerial conferences had expanded to embrace 12 members; the developments led Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke to believe the necessity of region-wide co-operation on economic matters. In January 1989, Bob Hawke called for more effective economic co-operation across the Pacific Rim region; this led to the first meeting of APEC in the Australian capital of Canberra in November, chaired by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans. Attended by ministers from twelve countries, the meeting concluded with commitments for future annual meetings in Singapore and South Korea.
Ten months 12 Asia-Pacific economies met in Canberra, Australia, to establish APEC. The APEC Secretariat, based in Singapore, was established to co-ordinate the activities of the organisation. During the meeting in 1994 in Bogor, Indonesia, APEC leaders adopted the Bogor Goals that aim for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialised economies and by 2020 for developing economies. In 1995, APEC established a business advisory body named the APEC Business Advisory Council, composed of three business executives from each member economy. In April 2001, the APEC, in collaboration with five other international organisations launched the Joint Oil Data Exercise, which in 2005 became the Joint Organisations Data Initiative; the location of the meeting is rotated annually among the members. APEC has 21 members. However, the criterion for membership is; as a result, APEC uses the term member economies rather than member countries to refer to its members. One result of this criterion is that membership of the forum includes Taiwan alongside People's Republic of China, as well as Hong Kong, which entered APEC as a British colony but it is now a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
APEC includes three official observers: ASEAN, the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council. India has requested membership in APEC, received initial support from the United States, Japan and Papua New Guinea. Officials have decided not to allow India to join for various reasons, considering that India does not border the Pacific Ocean, which all current members do. However, India was invited to be an observer for the first time in November 2011. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador, are among a dozen other economies that have applied for membership in APEC. Colombia applied for APEC's membership as early as in 1995, but its bid was halted as the organisation stopped accepting new members from 1993 to 1996, the moratorium was further prolonged to 2007 due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Guam has been seeking a separate membership, citing the example of Hong Kong, but the request is opposed by the United States, which represents Guam.
APEC has long been at the forefront of reform efforts in the area of business facilitation. Between 2002 and 2006 the costs of business transactions across the region was reduced by 6%, thanks to the APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan. Between 2007 and 2010, APEC hopes to achieve an additional 5% reduction in business transaction costs. To this end, a new Trade Facilitation Action Plan has been endorsed. According to a 2008 research brief published by the World Bank as part of its Trade Costs and Facilitation Project, increasing transparency in the region's trading system is critical if APEC is to meet its Bogor Goal targets; the APEC Business Travel Card, a travel document for visa-free business travel within the region is one of the concrete measures to facilitate business. In May 2010 Russia joined the scheme. APEC first formally started discussing the concept of a Free Trade Area of the As