News Release

President Duterte graces ASEAN Business Awards

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, September 6, led the ASEAN Business Awards 2017 and called on the awardees to help their fellow entrepreneurs, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“It is now your responsibility to help your fellow entrepreneurs do better and achieve more, to propel micro entrepreneurs to become small, and the small to become medium and so on,” President Duterte said in his speech at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City.

“You are the next breed of role models, and I look forward to your becoming the future mentors,” he said.

The President, at the same time, urged other entrepreneurs in the region to “follow their example and become beacons of innovation and change towards poverty eradication and economic development in your respective countries.”

“Let the accomplishments of our honorees serve as an example for the whole region that MSMEs are key drivers and contributors to greater employment opportunities and more resilient economies in ASEAN. Simply put, supporting [them] means supporting the growth of the ASEAN countries,” he said.

The ASEAN Business Awards 2017 recognizes outstanding ASEAN enterprises that contributed to the growth and prosperity of the region.

“Tonight, we recognize the finalists and awardees for their outstanding performance in their respective communities,” he said.

“We also acknowledge outstanding companies that made significant social impact through their inclusive business models which enable us to achieve inclusive growth and prosperity for all,” he added.

Also during his speech, the President cited the role of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC), which has been instrumental in realizing common aspirations of inclusive growth for the people.

“It has served as a platform for the private sector to provide valuable guidance in empowering our entrepreneurs to become the bedrock of a stronger regional economy,” Duterte said.

For the part of the Philippines, President Duterte said initiatives were undertaken to create an enabling, nurturing, and globally competitive business environment [for] our entrepreneurs.

“We have pushed for the promotion and integration of MSMEs across all sectors in the Philippines, the development of an innovation-driven economy, and the promotion of women and [youth] entrepreneurship in all sectors,” he said.

In addition, those who achieved success and wealth were challenged to embrace inclusivity by helping MSMEs.

“I now extend this call to other big businesses in the region. Embrace MSMEs in your supply chains, open up your retail stores, and integrate these small entrepreneurs [into] the way you do business,” he said.

The President also underscored the need for concrete action to eliminate the inequities in the region.

“This is why it is my fervent hope that all ASEAN member-states would continue to support local businesses through governmental and private endeavors that would make it easier for them to grow, flourish, and contribute to the development of their communities, their countries, and the entire region,” Duterte said.

Prior to the awarding rites, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, and ASEAN Economic Ministers paid a courtesy call on President Duterte.

Among those who were welcomed by the President include Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, Lao PDR Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena, Brunei Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Cambodian Director General of Ministry of Commerce Sim Sokheng, and Malaysian Minister of International Industry and Commerce Dato Sri Mustapa Bin Mohamed.

The President also met with Myanmar Union Minister of Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win, Thailand Director General of the Department of Trade Negotiations Boonyarit Kalayanamit,  Vietnam Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, and Singapore Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

Accompanying the President were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go. ###PND