Davao City — President Rodrigo Duterte left for China on Monday, April 9, with hopes to enhance and deepen the Philippines’ economic engagement and cooperation with its neighboring countries.
President Duterte departed Davao to speak before business leaders at the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern province of Hainan as well as to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“As I said before, the Philippines’ destiny is in Asia: Asia’s growth is expected to continue to rise through 2050 and account for more than half of the world’s GDP,” Duterte said.
“We must, therefore, continue our efforts to broaden and deepen the Philippines’ economic engagement and cooperation with our friends and neighbours. If we seek development to make the lives of our people more comfortable, we must harness the potential for shared growth in our region,” he added.
The President said he would advance the Philippines’ interests in trade expansion and investments promotion during the forum.
“I will highlight the results of our government’s efforts to make businesses grow through improved peace and order situation, sustained campaign to battle corruption and strengthened policy framework for businesses to thrive,” he said.
“Just as important, I will reiterate the Philippines’ commitment to do more to increase investments in the country, particularly in infrastructure, innovation and interconnectivity,” he added.
Duterte said he is also looking forward to meet with his counterpart President Xi Jinping to “discuss the full range” of the Philippines-China relations.
“As friends and sovereign equals, we will review the progress of our efforts and chart ways to ensure prosperity for our nations and region,” he said.
“Make no mistake: there can be no progress without stability and security in Asia’s lands and waters,” he added.
Meeting with Filipino community in Hong Kong
After his engagements in China, President Duterte will proceed to Hong Kong to meet the Filipino community there.
“I welcome the opportunity to meet our kababayans, report to them the developments at home and listen to their concerns and also their hopes,” he said.
The President also reiterated his support to the Filipino workers who left the Philippines to support and provide a better future for their families.
“My dream is a comfortable life for every Filipino. My mandate is to secure the interests of our nation and people. My solemn oath is to spare no effort to make these happen as I engage other nations,” he said.
Boracay as a land reform area
Meanwhile, President Duterte told reporters that he would declare Boracay as a land reform area after its six-month rehabilitation period.
“You want to know now? I’m going to make the announcement. It’s going to be a land reform area for the Filipinos,” he said during a press conference after delivering his pre-departure speech.
Earlier this month, the President approved the recommendation to temporarily close the island for rehabilitation.
“Consider Boracay a land reform area. I will give to the farmers. To the Filipino first,” he further said.
Duterte explained that Boracay has been declared as an agricultural area and therefore needs to be a land reform area.
“What I said is that that island itself is owned by the government. I’ve said it before, agricultural ‘yan pati forestal,” he said.
He also denied the plan of building a casino in the island.
“Walang plano diyan casino-casino. Tama na ‘yun kasi sobra na. May casino dito, casino doon. Give it to the people who need it most,” he said.