Duterte bats for 'closer international cooperation' in APEC leaders' meeting

Published November 12, 2021, 10:28 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Closer international cooperation is a must in order to speed up the Asia-Pacific region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while also addressing the challenges of climate change.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

President Duterte made this call during the 28th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting held via video conference on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.

APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Duterte stressed that the uneven recovery of countries from the COVID-19 pandemic cannot only be attributed to weak domestic systems or pre-pandemic economic fault lines, but also to structural and artificial constraints in the global economy.

“Closer international cooperation is needed to address these constraints and to ensure that all countries recover from this crisis,” reckoned the Philippine leader.

Duterte stressed that APEC economies need improved risk management systems, better response and mitigation measures, and stronger support mechanisms for vulnerable communities.

To achieve these goals, the President called for the creation of an integrated system on vaccine passport validation and contact tracing, institutionalization of social protection for non-traditional forms of employment, and promotion of transnational education and digital inclusion in APEC economies.

Noting the climate emergency the world is facing, Duterte reiterated his call for developed economies to fulfill their longstanding commitment to climate financing, technology transfer and capacity-building in the developing world, saying “It is the right thing to do.”

“Developing economies such as the Philippines contribute the least to climate change, but we are the most vulnerable to its disastrous consequences. And the cost of transitioning to a green economy is too high for developing countries to afford. This is the simple truth,” the President said.

Incidentally, the country just commemorated the eight anniversary of the typhoon “Yolanda” disaster.

Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), which brought the Philippines’ central islands to its knees in November 2013 due to its sheer destructive force, is commonly referred to as a climate change-triggered extreme weather event.

In last month’s 16th East Asia Summit (EAS), which Duterte also attended virtually, the Chief Executive appealed for “climate justice” from leaders of developed countries.

The APEC economic leaders endorsed the Aotearoa Plan of Action, the Implementation Plan for Putrajaya Vision 2040, which highlights key imperatives on trade and investment, innovation and digitalization and strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The 28th AELM focused on the theme “Join, Work, Grow. Together. Haumi Ē, Hui Ē, Tāiki Ē” under the chairmanship of New Zealand.

The 21-member economies of APEC are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States of America and Vietnam.