News Release

President Duterte calls for stronger socio-economic recovery, climate action

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from Asia and European countries in the virtual 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit at the Malacañang Palace on November 26, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Asia and Europe must work together for inclusive socio-economic recovery and climate action based on the principles of justice, fairness and equality to address the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and global warming, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Friday.

In his virtual participation to the Second Plenary Session of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, President Duterte raised the disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing climate particularly on vulnerable countries.

The pandemic, he said, has reversed the gains in economic growth and poverty reduction while the recovery from it seemed unequal.

“COVID-19 has affected us all, but the recovery is unequal. This cannot be attributed only to lapses in domestic policy, but also to structural constraints in the global economy,” the President said.

“We need more multilateral action to address these constraints. Our ultimate goal is to speed up more economic exchanges and people mobility in the new normal.”

In this context, he made a renewed call for the resumption of the negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU).

Robust economic relations between the Philippines and the EU will lift millions of Filipinos out of poverty, the President said, asking the regional bloc to give Filipinos a chance at a life of dignity.

On a broader level, the Filipino leader said ASEM partners must renew its support for an open and fair trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

And as the world gears toward recovery from the pandemic, he said that it is crucial to resume safe cross-border travel to re-energize economies. He suggested nations to adopt a scientific, non-discriminatory and World Health Organization-compliant framework on vaccine certificate recognition.

At the same time, he called for equal vaccine access, and stressed that geopolitics should not play a role in vaccine availability and supply. The Philippine president also pointed out that ASEM stakeholders must also look beyond recovery and must focus on preparedness and resiliency.

Tackling climate change, President Duterte said the main burden of climate action must fall more on the world’s worst polluters, who are responsible for the existential crisis – past and present.

In light of the COP26 in Glasgow, the Philippines, he said, repeats its call for climate justice.

The world’s transition to clean energy cannot be at the expense of the developing world’s progress, President Duterte argued, noting global warming “is a problem 200 years in the making – from which some countries benefitted more than others.”

“We call on our developed ASEM partners to stay true to our shared values: fulfill commitments in climate financing, technology transfer and capacity-building without political preconditions,” he said.

“We all need to do our part. The Philippines certainly will. But those who benefitted from our planet the most must do more.”

The 13th ASEM Summit adopted three outcome documents that included the

ASEM13 Chair’s Statement, Phnom Penh Statement on the Post-COVID-19 Socio- Economic Recovery and Way Forward on ASEM Connectivity.

Established in 1996, ASEM is an informal platform for political dialogue and cooperation, bringing together 53 partners. It consists of 51 partner countries and two organizational partners, the EU and the ASEAN. PND