PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
AT THE 13TH ASEAN BUSINESS AND INVESTMENT SUMMIT (ABIS)
[Muong Thanh Luxury Hotel, Luang Prabang, Laos | 06 September 2016]
Thank you. This is a distinct honor for me.
Chairman Oudet Souvannavong; the other distinguished leaders of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council; members of the Philippine delegation; awardees of the ASEAN Business Awards; the business community; ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
I thank the ASEAN Business Council and its chairman for the opportunity to participate as the speaker in this year’s ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
I attach great importance on how laws are crafted and implemented to bring good governance and order and to provide an enabling environment for the country’s progress and prosperity.
From my perspective, for an ASEAN to be a global player, it must do the following: First, ASEAN must ensure the effective implementation of various agreements concluded through the years.
I note that since the establishment of ASEAN in 1967, several key economic agreements have facilitated regional economic integration of natural persons and mutual recognition, arrangement of certain professions.
It certainly took an immense amount of effort and compromise as Member States shared their commitment and political resolve to accommodate and reconcile national interest with the regional aspiration of one nation, the ASEAN Community.
On the part of the Philippines, our economic focus will be towards the promotion of inclusive growth through innovation in four areas: micro, small and medium enterprises; e-commerce; youth; and women entrepreneurship.
Second, ASEAN must hasten the growth and integration of Sub-Regional Cooperation Framework in the ASEAN. At the moment, we have the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, the GMS; the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle; and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area or otherwise known as the BIMP-EAGA.
Hailing from Mindanao, I commit to promote BIMP-EAGA. We intend to open up our other major islands like Mindanao and the Visayas with high-quality backbone infrastructures.
We will accelerate infrastructure spending by improving national roads and bridges such as the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network and other network master plans, including the inter-island linkages.
We have to further expand our Roll-on – Roll-off facility to Davao, General Santos and Bitong in Indonesia.
Third, ASEAN must provide support to the micro, small and medium enterprises. We will work and collaborate with ASEAN in helping the MSMEs look for ways to connect them in the countries of the ASEAN and the world. We will work on enhancing the policy and regulatory environment, providing an affordable and innovative digital platform, and accessing best practices and financial resources.
Fourth, we must engage the world in a robust way in the economic sphere. ASEAN is making further progress in fulfilling its commitments to the ASEAN Free Trade, the FTA.
While the ASEAN’s FTAs with Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India and Korea are mutually beneficial, signifying ASEAN’s ability to carry its way in the area of economic partnership.
With the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP, we are now gaining further momentum in November 2016. The Philippines will host the RCEP Senior Officials’ [meeting] to further improve the pace and substance of our negotiations and conclude the comprehensive and high-quality RCEP agreement in a timely manner.
Finally, ASEAN needs stronger resolve and action to combat trans-national crime, one of the most difficult and complex problems that we face in the region and a pressing concern for the Philippines.
The trade in illicit and illegal drugs in particular has emerged as a pressing problem for our country’s undermined social cohesion and the rule of law in the socio-economic program of the country.
Recent events though have shown terrorism and violent extremism rearing its ugly heads and threatening to pull us back from our onwards advance to progress.
We shall not be cowed. We will press on. We must re-double our efforts to concentrate on intelligence gathering, prevention, interdiction, arrest and prosecution.
We should act together in concert to ensure that economic gains we made so far will advance at full speed so that ASEAN can confidently play its rightful role as a global player, contributing to the economic growth and prosperity.