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Asean members need to improve infrastructure programs, says GMA

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco With Justine Atacador
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 82

FORMER President-turned Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday sought to intensify
infrastructure projects to further connect and enhance the trade and investment among members of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

During the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2017, Arroyo, a former Deputy Speaker,
underscored the need for ASEAN members to improve their infrastructure programs.
    
“Efficient infrastructure is both physical and digital and that is a must for nations as well
as for Asean as a whole,” said Arroyo, explaining that Asean integration is about to end by 2025.
    
“2025 is supposed to be our year of full integration. If we achieve our vision in eight years,
we have a great chance of being a global force in 50 years,” said Mrs. Arroyo.
    
President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte plans to invest P8.4 trillion in new public infrastructure to
foster balanced economic growth across all regions.
    
In a related development, Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo predicted a good
relationship between the country and the United States (US) after the Asean Summit.
    
“We can expect better relations between the Philippines and the United States following the
one-on-one meeting of President Duterte with President Trump on the sidelines of the Asean Summit,”
said Castelo.
    
“The meeting signals the start of a new regime in PH-US relations based on mutual respect,”
said Castelo.
    
Castelo said the two presidents appear to have “hit it off” instantly and earned each other’s
respect on a personal level -- more than on an official level.
    
Speaking about the bilateral meeting, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Trump “made
the assurance that President Duterte has a friend in the person of President Trump, that he is an ally
since he was elected into office.”
    
“For the first time, we have a President who is treated on equal footing by our former
colonizers -- not dictated upon what to do,” said Castelo.
    
During their meeting, Trump cited the “great relationship” between the US and the Philippines
and thanked the host country for “the great treatment you have given us.”
    
“We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful,” Trump told Duterte.
    
Castelo said all these point to a strengthening of Philippine-US ties in a new regime of
mutual respect, understanding and benefit.