Spokesperson Ernesto Abella summed up the last leg of the Duterte administration’s visit to the neighboring countries Cambodia and Singapore for the year as an assurance to the public that the country is on the steady road “to prosperity and change.”
Speaking before the Malacañan reporters in a press briefing on Friday, December 16, in Singapore, Abella said, “We really like to encourage Filipinos to be able to work together towards a more positive nation building.”
Joining him in the panel were Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.
Lopez said the administration is “on a good run” and every citizen is called upon to make economic growth an inclusive experience for all.
He acknowledges that the President’s team is working very had to “really solve poverty” and help improve the lives of the Filipino family. “Aangat ang lahat ng buhay ng Pilipino. Prosperity for all,” Lopez said.
Yasay described the visits to Cambodia and Singapore as “very fruitful and successful.” He cited the bilateral agreements of the Philippines with both the Singapore President Tony Tan and the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the areas of trade and investments.
“The result is that we had forged a much stronger relationship with Singapore and committed to strengthen our trade, investment, and commercial relationship,” Lopez said. Singapore is the fourth largest trading partner of the Philippines.
Lopez also expressed optimism in the opportunities that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is offering to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). RCEP involves Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India. “It’s quite important that we really have that robust and vibrant trading arrangement among the RCEP countries,” Lopez said.
Yasay, meanwhile, said that the tough stance of the Duterte administration in the fight against illegal drugs must be taken “in the context of the urgent priorities and needs on the ground.” He added that sharing of intelligence information involving law enforcement is one possible area of cooperation between the Philippines and Singapore.
The Foreign Secretary assured the public that the government remains committed to the rule of law and due process. He said that the critics’ concern on allegations of violation of human rights is being addressed “in the best way we can.”
He urged the international community to look at the pressing problem of the drug menace as a world problem.
“ASEAN as a regional group has committed to make sure that in the next few years, our efforts would bring about what we would call a drug-free ASEAN community,” Yasay said. ###MARO-CONTENT