President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, November 12, arrived in Singapore to attend the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and show strong support for the advancement of the regional bloc.
It is an opportunity for the Chief Executive and other ASEAN leaders to move ASEAN community-building forward and bring ASEAN closer to a rules-based, people-oriented, and people-centered ASEAN community.
Together with other ASEAN leaders, the President will engage leaders of ASEAN Dialogue Partner countries to further enrich partnership in key areas of cooperation.
The Philippines is also looking forward to exchanging views on strengthening the ASEAN community through resilience and innovation, essential factors to overcome regional and global developments related to peace, security, and stability.
Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap said in an interview that President Duterte will reiterate the Philippines’ principled positions on matters concerning the South China Sea and transnational and transboundary issues such as terrorism, violent extremism, trafficking in persons, illicit drugs, disaster risk reduction and management, and the rights of migrant workers.
“Number one is, of course, our concern about migrant rights and migration. So, that has been one of our important topics that we push for ASEAN, and that continues to be an important topic,” the envoy narrated.
“Number two is, of course, ‘yung South China Sea. So we are negotiating. ASEAN is negotiating a code of conduct with China on the South China Sea…West Philippine Sea. So, that is also an important thing to look at,” he continued.
The Philippines, likewise, is expecting candid talks on the direction of cooperation in East Asia during the 13th East Asian Summit.
Another exchange that the leaders are anticipating is the 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit, which is a free trade agreement among key nations around the world, where the Philippines will be part of.
“So, if RCEP is eventually signed, then it will actually open up a very large grouping of countries that will be enjoying more free trade among themselves. The reason why we’re doing it is because, hopefully, it will generate jobs, create wealth and development for the participants in that RCEP,” said Ambassador Del Mar Yap.
Right after the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore, the President will proceed to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to participate in the 19th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and also meet the vibrant Filipino community there.
The participation of President Duterte’s in ASEAN, APEC, and Related Summits aims to continue in pursuing goals and aspirations shared with stakeholders in the region and beyond to secure a productive partnership for the benefit of the nation and the Filipino people. PND