By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is expected to push for closer regional cooperation to enhance trade and security in this year’s summit in Papua New Guinea.
Coming from his attendance to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore, the President is scheduled to arrive in Port Moresby on Friday morning to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on November 17 and 18.
“We hope that trade relations really improve vastly with respect to other countries and specially the security concerns,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a television interview about the Philippines’ goals in this year’s APEC summit.
“The problems of this region are, one, terrorism; and then we have the piracy on the seas; and the radicalism that seems to seep in into other countries of this region,” he added.
The country, currently one of the best performing economies in the region, has also much to contribute and much to gain from the APEC discussions, according to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella.
“We will stand tall as we advance and assert peace, prosperity and independence in pursuit of a comfortable and secure life for the Filipino people,” Abella said.
Ahead of the APEC economic leaders’ summit, the President is expected to meet with the Filipino community on Friday at the community center. More than 40,000 Filipinos are working and living in Papua New Guinea.
On November 17, the President will join 20 other Pacific Rim leaders for the annual talks on trade and investments, security, and other regional concerns and issues.
Several APEC events have been lined up in the President’s schedule this Saturday. The activities include the APEC leaders’ family photo, APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) dialogue with the leader, ABAC dialogue-breakout session, APEC leaders’ dialogue with Pacific Island leaders; and the APEC leaders and spouses family photo, APEC Economic leaders gala dinner and cultural performance.
On November 18, the President is expected to meet anew with other APEC leaders for the official family photo, followed by their dialogue with the International Monetary Fund. The APEC economic leaders will also hold the retreat session and hold a working lunch before issuing the summit declarations for the year.
Duterte is expected to return to Davao City Sunday night.