President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is eager to actively engage other heads of states during the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in a bid to create an outcome that will benefit Filipinos, a Foreign Affairs official said on Friday, April 6.
In a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Manuel Antonio Teehankee said BFA is an international dialogue platform for Asia Pacific countries and other partner nations and organizations from all over the globe.
“It aims to bring together heads of state, business elites, academic experts and media personalities to discuss cooperation, innovations, and solutions towards a more open and prosperous Asia,” Teehankee said.
The forum with the theme, “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity” will be held in Hainan Province of China.
On April 10, President Duterte will attend and address the Opening Plenary.
Teehankee underscored that addressing the BFA Plenary is a singular privilege for the Philippines and a privilege for acknowledging President Duterte’s role and leadership in Asia and the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) Region.
“The President sees the goals of the forum as parallel and complementary to his own vision of a developed Philippines and a more prosperous Filipino nation as well as a more prosperous ASEAN economic region,” he said
“President Duterte looks forward to actively engaging his counterparts to create positive outcomes that will benefit the Filipino people in particular and the Asia Pacific region in general,” Teehankee further noted.
The Foreign Affairs official said the common theme of President Duterte in fora such as ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, World Economic Forum, or BFA is inclusive growth.
“Well, following up from the President’s ASEAN chairmanship, wherein the Philippines is acknowledged as a leading voice in the push for greater economic prosperity together with our AmBisyon 2040 and our goals for 2022, for the Philippines to attain developed status by 2040 and middle-income status by 2022,” he said.
Teehankee noted that the President’s aim is for the country’s poverty rate to drop to 14 percent by 2020 and zero by 2040.
“So the real challenge for Asia is to eliminate poverty. Zero poverty is the goal of the President. Walang maiiwanan. No one is left behind,” he said.
BFA was first conceptualized in 1998 by then President Fidel V. Ramos, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and was launched in February 2001 with an initial number of 26 participating countries. It has 29 member nations at present.
Aside from attending the forum, President Duterte will hold on April 10 a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping to discuss ways to further enhance the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China.
“The two leaders will also discuss ways to collaborate on jointly addressing pressing issues as well as common threats such as violent extremism and terrorism and cross-border traffic of illegal narcotics,” he said.
After the meeting, the President will head to Hong Kong to personally see and hear the concerns and situation of the Filipino community. In his visit to Hong Kong last year, President Duterte also met with Filipinos.
Duterte will return to Manila on April 12. PND