Duterte calls for strong, resilient Asean

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday urged member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) to work together for a stronger and more resilient community.

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In his speech during the launching of Asean 2017 Committee in Business and Investment Promotion in Malacañang, Duterte called for unity as he vowed to work with the 10 Asean member-states and its dialogue partners to ensure a collective success.

“Asean needs to sustain its momentum towards inclusive growth, ensure that businesses and industries continue to thrive and secure a policy environment that supports meaningful economic change and reform,” the President said.

“In upholding our region’s common interest and advancing towards our collective goals, know that the Philippines will work closely with the Asean member states and will engage our partners constructively to fully realize the positive changes we desire and aspire for our region. Let us together work for an Asean that is even stronger, more resilient and ready to do business,” he added.

Under the Philippines’ chairmanship, Duterte said Asean will continue on the road towards “greater progress and prosperity” and will work tirelessly “to ensure that Asean’s economic integration as an object and instrument of policy are fully harnessed.”

“We will work together with Asean member states and partners to ensure that the trajectory of inclusive growth remains always on the upswing,” the President said.

To do this, the Philippines will focus on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that form the backbone of the Asean’s collective economy.

“The objective is to build the capacities of MSMEs to make them active and competitive players in the national, regional, and global economies. I encourage business leaders and the enterprises here to tap the MSMEs and help them integrate into the national, regional valued chain,” the President said.

“If we’re able to evolve toward becoming smart economies, we have to be intelligent about investments, which includes investment not just in the areas of science and research and development but equally important is our precious human resources,” he said.

The President also mentioned the empowerment of women so that “they can take on the greater economic roles and participate even more broadly in nation and region-building.”

“The objective is to achieve the full economic potentials of women and to bridge the gender gap… In Asean, we will go beyond that and focus on achieving the equity and justice that all our women deserve,” he said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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