President Rodrigo Duterte left for Viet Nam Wednesday, November 8, to attend the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting vowing to push issues important for the country such as human capital development, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), agriculture and regional security.
“I anticipate a highly productive meeting, and I look forward to exchanging ideas with my fellow leaders and old friends on how we can strengthen relationships to sustain the economic vigor of the Asia Pacific region,” President Duterte said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
“As a founding member of APEC, the Philippines has hosted the Economic leaders meeting twice. Our continued engagement [is] an investment in our economic future as our country seeks to sustain our development and work towards more significant investments and a golden age of infrastructure,” he added.
He noted that when the Philippines hosted APEC in 2015, the country pushed for important initiatives such as promoting inclusive growth, investing in human capital development, and fostering MSME participation in the global market.
During the APEC meeting in Lima, Peru last year, the President strongly supported the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap, a key outcome for the country, since the services sector is the biggest contributor to gross domestic product (GDP).
He also pitched for food security through sustainable economic, agricultural, forest and fisheries, beneficial policies for MSMEs, regulatory reform, human capital development and connectivity and inclusive growth.
“This year, we will amplify that call [with] renewed vigor,” the President stressed.
“We will continue to reiterate the themes of development and economic growth, in order to reinforce our strategic — importance to achieve the goals of realizing a prosperous Philippines with equal access to opportunities to all,” he added.
The President is expected to speak at the APEC CEO Summit where he will have a dialogue with big businesses aiming to sustain the country’s economic gains and contribute to the prosperity of the larger Asia Pacific region.
He will also participate in the continuing dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council to deepen regional economic growth integration and to promote inclusive growth.
As chair of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the President said he will use the ASEAN and APEC to promote advocacies that benefits Filipinos to gain access to international markets of MSMEs, which he believes will bring comfortable life to the people.
At the inaugural dialogue between APEC and ASEAN, as ASEAN Chair, the President vowed to engage the leaders of the Asia Pacific region “to commit in pursuing our shared economic prosperity.”
“This, as we work jointly to ensure that our region is secure from the menace of transnational crimes such as illegal drug trade, terrorism and [violent] extremism and crimes at sea,” he said.
He said the Philippines fully supports Viet Nam as this year’s chairman of APEC.
“Upon my return, I hope to build up on the discussions at APEC to boost the Philippines’ and ASEAN’s agenda in our Chairmanship of the 31st ASEAN Summit and related other summits,” he said.
In his visit to Viet Nam, the President is likely to meet with US President Donald Trump, who is also expected to attend the annual summit.
President Duterte said among the issues he might raise with Trump are trade, Islamic extremism, terrorism and the South China Sea dispute. PND