Media Interview with Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Tan Wee

Event Media interview


Good morning. Good morning, magandang umaga po sa inyo. Magandang umaga, Pilipinas.

As Ambassador of the Philippines to Indonesia, I welcome you to the IMF-World Bank Conference and the ASEAN Leaders’ Group Conference.

The relationship between Philippines and Indonesia has enjoyed many, many years of — many, many years of — has been very fruitful.

Next year 2019 is the 70th year anniversary of the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and the Philippines. In the past, both countries has been very helpful in terms of disasters that are happening to the two countries.

We have helped Indonesia during the Aceh disaster and also the Yogyakarta. The recent earthquake and the tsunami in Palu is a very big disaster for Indonesia.

And as of today, I learned that our C-130 plane has flown out of the Philippines to bring all assistance to Palu. We are also placed to give 300,000 dollar for humanitarian assistance, and part of what we are donating are generators, waters and medical kits as the need arises.

The ASEAN Leaders’ Conference is a meeting of the 10 leaders of the 10 member countries of ASEAN. ASEAN in the past few years has been — has become a potent force in the world arena.

In fact, big countries of the world are now wanted to have a good relationship with ASEAN. The purpose of this meeting is for Indonesia to show to the world that ASEAN is united as a group.

Part of the Philippines and Indonesia initiatives would be the peace and order situation — their assistance to the terrorism. We have been talking with Indonesia in many forums to help us develop the peace and order in the Philippines especially southern part of the Philippines and also the border between the seas — the Celebes Sea.

Thank you.



Q: Sir, magkakaroon po ba ng bilateral meeting si Presidente with other leaders?

AMBASSADOR WEE: I think that is a possibility because there are issues that the two Presidents should be able to talk about.

We have the… The Embassy has been meeting with Indonesia in many forums in Lombok, in Bali especially on the peace and order, on the terrorism issue.

On the trade issue, the last four months that I’ve been here, we have developed — we have asked a lot of stakeholders to revise the Davao-Manado route. Probably within the year or early next year there will be an air routes that will come from Davao to Manado. And there’s a fastfood company in the Philippines that will also open up in Jakarta.

So there a lot of other trade activities that are being done in the last four months that I’ve been here. 

Q: Hi, sir. Pia Gutierrez from ABS-CBN. Sir, will there be a chance for President Duterte to personally hand over the Philippines’ assistance to Indonesian President Widodo?

AMBASSADOR WEE: I think — I think that is a possibility because right now the Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines is here and I’ll have a meeting with him in a while to hand to him the donations.

But I also learned that aside from the government in the donation to Palu, there are many other private people in the Philippines that are giving donations in the Embassy of Indonesia in the Philippines.

Yesterday, I learned that the ASEAN BAC donated a 100,000 dollar. I have friends in the Philippines that also gave a lot of cash donation to the Embassy. Thank you.

Q: Sir, may I also know why Indonesia is hosting the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering and not Singapore who is the chairman this year?

AMBASSADOR WEE: Indonesia being the biggest country in ASEAN and I think in line with the World Bank and IMF, this would be a good forum for Indonesia to show to the world that ASEAN leaders are united.

And I think this is a good sign to the world that we are — we are united as a group and to further enhance ASEAN to the world.

Q: Hi, Ambassador, Ian Cruz from GMA News. Sir, dito ginanap dahil ba kasama sa G20 ang Indonesia? Malaking parte ng ekonomiya nila ang umuusbong talaga na malaki.

AMBASSADOR WEE: Can you repeat the question?

Q: Iyong summit po ng — part ng G20 na ang Indonesia kaya malaki ang pagtingin sa kanila ng World Bank?

AMBASSADOR WEE: I think so, yeah. After the successful handling of the Asian Games, Indonesia has gained a lot of prestige in the world.

In fact, I learned that they are bidding to be in 2032 for the Olympic Games to be done in Jakarta.

Q: Sir, ‘yung 300,000 is that in form of cash or meron pong in kind doon — ‘yung 300,000 dollars?

AMBASSADOR WEE: In cash and in kind, humanitarian assistance.

Q: Sir, how are the Filipinos staying in Bali, Indonesia? Are they all in white collar jobs or still looking for more Filipinos — to work here?

AMBASSADOR WEE: Well, the approximately 8,000 Filipinos in Indonesia, there are approximately 300 in Bali. Their main job here are — they are resort manager[s], teachers, and they are of the white collar job.

In fact, I will have a meeting with the leaders of the Filipino community in the next two days to see how the Embassy can help them.

Q: Sir, can you repeat lang, sir, 8,000 or 800 — 80,000?

AMBASSADOR WEE: 8,000, 8,000.

Q: In?

AMBASSADOR WEE: No, the 80,000 are the Filipinos in Indonesia.

Q: In the whole Indonesia?

AMBASSADOR WEE: Yeah, the whole Indonesia and of that, about 250 are here in Bali as resort managers, teachers and so forth.

Lately, the teachers from the Philippines are in big demand here in Indonesia.

Q: Sir, during the meeting I understand that the ASEAN leaders will also be talking to the leaders of the IMF, World Bank and the United Nations. Would you know what issues will they be talking about?

AMBASSADOR WEE: The ASEAN leaders I think through President Widodo will be able to express to the IMF-World Bank the sentiments of ASEAN, the needs of all of the ASEAN countries through President Widodo.

Q: So they will not be in the meeting? They will be coursing their issues through President Widodo, tama po ba sir?

AMBASSADOR WEE: Yes, I think so because the ASEAN leaders will meet tomorrow and the President is leaving tomorrow night.

The IMF will only start on the — the opening session the next day.

Q: Will there be a private meeting with the UN and the President?

AMBASSADOR WEE: I have not seen the agenda about that. Probably none because the President has also tight schedule.

Q: Sir, how about with Indonesia President Widodo?

AMBASSADOR WEE: I think there will be a brief meeting between the two leaders.

Q: So what will be the agenda of their meeting?

AMBASSADOR WEE: There are various issues of Indonesia and the Philippines. The trade issue is one of them, the terrorism, the wide Celebes Sea which has always been a problem. Although, we have done a lot of things to improve that.

I think those are the issues that are foremost in the mind of the two Presidents.

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SOURCE: PCOO – PND (Presidential News Desk)