Duterte hails signing of PH-Korea free trade pact: 'Our economies need it'

Published October 26, 2021, 9:56 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has welcomed the signing of the Philippines-Republic of Korea (ROK) free trade agreement on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

(Photos from Malacañang/ Unsplash)

Speaking during the 22nd ASEAN-ROK Summit, Duterte says the trade pact is “needed for our economies to recover and bounce back,” clearly alluding to the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He also pushed for the full implementation of the ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement and the early entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The ASEAN-ROK Summit is just one of the meetings in the ongoing 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, which are being hosted by Brunei. Durterte is attending the high-level meetings virtually via video conference.

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) attends the first day of the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits on Oct. 26, 2021. (Screenshot from RTVM Facebook)

Speaking at the 38th ASEAN Summit, Duterte stressed that the ASEAN’s road to recovery from COVID-19 will be long and difficult as the region is still reeling from the impact of the pandemic.

He emphasized that ASEAN must ensure the phased and comprehensive implementation of the regional bloc’s comprehensive recovery framework. He also called for the immediate establishment of the ASEAN Centre on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

This is the Philippine leader’s last ASEAN Summit as he will step down from office on June 30, 2022.