Duterte offers to build schools, send Filipino teachers to Papua New Guinea

Published November 16, 2018, 7:52 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Genalyn Kabiling

PORT MORESBY – The Philippines is willing to build schools and send Filipino teachers to Papua New Guinea to help in the development of its neighbor.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrives at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 16 to participate in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week. (Richard Madelo/ Presidential Photo)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrives at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 16 to participate in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week. (Richard Madelo/ Presidential Photo)

On the first day of his visit here, the President has announced the government’s education aid to Papua New Guinea in appreciation to its generosity and kindness to Filipino workers.

He will relay the offer when he meets with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during the regional summit this weekend. Duterte is in Port Moresby for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit but will cut short his three-day trip by a day to return home Sunday morning.

“We need to develop and develop well Papua New Guinea. We are willing to help establish schools. We will send vocational skills training, TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), ” Duterte said during the meeting with the Filipino community Friday night.

“I heard that most of our countrymen are treated well and respect. In return, I’ll see him (O’Neill) tomorrow (Saturday) but we are ready to build schools, ask teachers to come here and help in the education of your people,” he added.

Duterte said the government was also prepared to help Papua New Guinea with its livelihood projects.

He took pride that the Filipino workers are “industrious” and “bright,” adding that Papua New Guinea could take advantage of their expertise.

“We can come here, we can establish schools, if you want universities and we are good at that. We will try to help you,” he said.

Duterte said he was grateful to the country for its fair treatment of Filipinos.

The President, meantime, cautioned Papua New Guinea against allowing multinational companies from “encroaching” its farmlands.

He said they should guard against such incursion, citing that the Philippines no longer have farmlands for food crops.

“It’s overtaken by multinationals. Be careful about that. You may but do not allow encroachment of multinationals because at the end of the day what you would get is the salary of the people but the bulk of the money goes to the company,” he said.

“Do not allow big money to enter. You take time to develop,” he added.

The Philippines and Papua New Guinea also signed a landmark agreement to bolster cooperation on agriculture development, including the production of rice, coconut and coffee.

The Memorandum of Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation aims to “promote mutual consultations, exchanges on technical assistance, and joint research on specific areas of agriculture.”

It was signed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Papua New Guinea Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allan during.

Under the pact, the two countries would cooperate on the production of rice and grains, industrial crops such as coconut, cocoa, coffee, rubber and palm oil, and horticultural crops and spices.

Other areas of cooperation are aquaculture and inland fish farming; post-harvest development; livestock breeding; training on bio-security mechanisms and systems for monitoring; development of agri-businesses and technical training for establishment of agri-business resource centers.

The two nations will also work together on the development of irrigation facilities for large rice scale production, renovation and establishment of abattoirs as well as and research, education and training on agriculture.

“The MOA also includes the exchange of professionals, scientists, technicians and farmers for study and training,” the Palace said.

The agreement was signed after Piñol and other Cabinet members visited the Philippines-Papua New Guinea Rice Demonstration Farm located inside Pacific Adventist University.

The 25-hectare plantation seeks to establish a model seed farm that can be a source of certified rice seeds for farmers in the Pacific Island nation. The demo plantation was part of a rice cooperation pact between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea that sent 19 Filipino farm technicians and tax-free supplies and equipment to Port Moresby.

Also present in the farm visit were Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and Philippine Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Bienvenido Tejano.