PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will unveil his ambitious economic development and infrastructure plan dubbed “Dutertenomics” before world leaders and businessmen at international events in Cambodia and China this week, the Foreign Affairs department said on Monday.
In a news conference in Malacañang, Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said Duterte would first visit Cambodia to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on May 10 to 11.
The President will join the forum as this year’s Asean chairman and will be given the opportunity to speak about his plan to transform the Philippines into a high middle-income economy by 2022.
It will be the first time for Cambodia to host the WEF on Asean. Topics include “Asean in the New Global Context,” “Asean and the Connectivity Agenda,” and “Asean and the Youth Agenda.”
More than 700 leaders from business, government, civil society and media are expected to attend the WEF event in Phnom Penh.
During the WEF event, Bolivar said Duterte will also discuss the progress made in building the Asean Economic Community, the region’s free-trade area.
“In particular, at the 30th Asean Summit held a little over a week ago, the leaders welcomed the Asean Economic Community’s thrust to pursue three strategic measures, namely: increasing trade and investment; integrating micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital economy; and developing an innovation-driven economy and to reduce trade transaction costs by 10 percent by 2020,” Bolivar said.
‘Belt and Road’
From Cambodia, Duterte will fly to Hong Kong to meet overseas Filipino workers there.
There are around 210,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, mostly in the hotel and restaurant industry and households.
On May 13, Duterte will arrive in Beijing for China’s Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
At the forum, which will take place from May 14 to 15, Duterte will join 27 other heads of state and three participating international organizations.
The event will include a leaders’ roundtable discussion to be led by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative seeks to connect Asia and Europe through a vast network of trade and infrastructure.
“The President’s foreign engagements will be focused on securing the national interest. Anything that can help the Philippines in its economic development is very welcome and we believe that the Belt and Road initiative can be a helpful mechanism for the Philippines to promote its economic interests in the region,” Bolivar said.
Bolivar said bilateral meetings between Duterte and Xi, and with other world leaders, were being worked out.
“The Philippines-China relationship has been steadily improving in all aspects over the last few years and it’s also a welcome development for us to engage more actively with China on economic cooperation,” he said.
Bolivar could not confirm whether the President would raise the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute with the Chinese leader.
Duterte has refused to sow a rift with China and has decided not to insist on the Philippines’ legal victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which ruled against Beijing’s claims on the contested waters in July 2016.
Duterte wants a diplomatic approach to resolve the issue.