Duterte in asean, apec events

November 12, 2018
Rodrigo R. Duterte

Joins other regional leaders in Singapore summit before flying to Papua New Guinea for APEC meeting.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte  yesterday flew to Singapore to join regional leaders at the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and from there will travel to Papua New Guinea for this week’s 19th Asia-Pacific Economic Leaders Meeting.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will act as the government’s Officer-in-Charge (OIC) while Duterte is out of the country.

Duterte signed Special Order 1265 last Friday, naming Medialdea as OIC from November 12 to 18. A copy of the order was made available to media yesterday.

“The Executive Secretary shall act as OIC to take care of the day-to-day operations in the Office of the President and to oversee the general administration of the Executive Department,” Duterte said in his order.

President Duterte will affirm his support for multi-lateralism in the face of rising protectionism and trade tensions between the United States and China, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

“The President joins other leaders in affirming commitment to an international rules-based regime support of the multilateral trading system embodied by organizations like the World Trade Organization,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

Duterte will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Singapore.  He was supposed to have arrived there Monday night while Putin is scheduled to start his state visit and attendance to the regional summit today.

Duterte and Putin first met during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Peru on November 2016.

The DFA said Duterte is expected to touch on the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea at ASEAN meetings also to be attended by China.

Duterte will take a private jet from Singapore for his trip to Papua New Guinea.
He is expected to return to the country from Papua New Guinea on Sunday evening.
However, it is not yet clear whether Duterte would bring up the issue of China’s opening  of weather stations in the disputed waters.

The Korean peninsula, global trade and transboundary issues like terrorism and human trafficking are also expected to be tackled at the ASEAN meet.

Many leaders are reportedly requesting a bilateral meeting with President Duterte, but the DFA cannot give details on these yet.

Duterte will be in Singapore until November 15 and would then head to Papua New Guinea for the 19th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. He will be joining leaders of the 21-member Pacific Rim group’s meetings scheduled November 17-18.

Abella said that Duterte would give emphasis on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines for them to tap technology to break into the international market.

“The President conveys his support for mechanisms that will enable our MSMEs … to take advantage of digital and online platforms to benefit their enterprises and to bring their products and services overseas,” Abella said.

Abella said Duterte would be joining a dialogue with prominent business leaders during the APEC Business Advisory Council meeting and with other APEC leaders at the Pacific Island Forum.

He added that “there will be a lot of dialogues with other countries,” but cannot give specific details on these bilateral meetings yet.

However, Abella said no meetings have been set with US Vice President Mike Pence and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who are attending the summit in lieu of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, respectively.

Duterte first met with Trump during the 2017 APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, while he met Putin for the second time in the same event.

The three have been compared with one another, with Duterte and Putin appearing on Time Magazine’s May 2018 issue on strongmen.

Duterte would also be meeting with the Filipino community based in Papua New Guinea, most of whom are agricultural experts who help in rice production in that country, Abella said.

“This is a new era for Filipino engagement on the world stage. The Asia-Pacific region represents the epicenter of global growth, making APEC the most important economic platforms in the world,” Abella said.

Home to around 40,000 Filipinos and 215 Philippine companies, Papua New Guinea is hosting the APEC summit for the first time. The Philippines last hosted the event in 2015.