17 April 2017

Duterte spearheads Business Forum in Qatar
DOHA, QATAR — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the Business Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha on April 15, Saturday.

The President commenced his first engagement in his Qatar state visit, making a pitch on the prospect of agriculture in the Philippines.

“(The) Philippines is an agricultural country. We know that we can offer you so many things from the bounties of the Earth. We have mining, we have everything, ore, uranium… So if you go into business, the Philippines is big enough to accommodate any kind of vegetation,” the Chief Executive said.

“I will offer the Philippines not only to the familiar businessmen and even the mining and all; it’s open for everybody and there is no corruption,” he added.

True to his word, the President had just recently fired high-ranking government officials allegedly involved in corruption. He ordered the Bureau of Customs not to open bags or suitcases of travelers, particularly the overseas Filipino workers.

Furthermore, President Duterte assured Qatari businessmen that under his government all contracts would be honored.

“So these are the things that I guarantee to you. Everything will be all right. Everything will be followed. There will be no harassments. There will be no asking of money. It will be a truly honest to goodness transaction,” Duterte vowed as he acknowledged the significant contribution of the Gulf states in the growth of the Philippine economy.

All of these efforts and initiatives, including the President’s visits abroad, were part of what Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez termed as “Dutertenomics”. This refers to the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda aimed to uplift the quality of life of the Filipino people.

In total, the President’s Gulf state visits brought home a total of US$925-milion (or Php46-billion) worth of investment deals among Saudi, Bahraini, and Qatari businessmen, which expected to create approximately 62,000 jobs.

Present during the forum are Qatari trade officials and businessmen led by Qatar Chamber of Commerce Inc. (QCCI) Vice Chairman Muhammad Bin Ahmed Bin Towar Al Kuwari, who delivered the welcome remarks.

On the other hand, among those who accompanied President Duterte in the forum included Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and other Filipino business and government executives.###PCO-Content

President Duterte caps Qatar visit with Emir meeting, witnesses signing of agreements
The Philippines and Qatar signed on Sunday, April 26, several agreements related to culture, technical education, health and investments, paving the way for expanded cooperation and intensified relations between the two countries.

Among those signed was the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of culture between the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Qatar and the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts. This agreement will promote and encourage bilateral cultural exchanges of musical, theatrical and artistic groups as well as artistic exhibitions and translation of literary works to foster appreciation and understanding of Qatari and Philippine cultures.

His Excellency Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdurrahman Al-Thani, Minister of Foreign affairs signed for Qatar and Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo signed for the Philippines.

A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of health between Qatar and the Philippines was also signed. His Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health signed for Qatar while Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial signed for the Philippines. This agreement aims to promote cooperation in the areas of health services and medical research through exchange of expertise.

Also a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of technical vocational education and training was signed by the two countries. This agreement will facilitate exchange of professionals in technical areas and in technology institute management as well as encourage exchange of technology programs among private enterprises.

His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education signed for Qatar and TESDA Chief Guiling Mamondiong signed for the Philippines.

An agreement on investments was also signed Sunday. The signatory for Qatar was His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Mohamed Al Thani, the Minister of Economy and Trade and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez signed for the Philippines. This agreement will intensify economic cooperation between the Philippines and Qatar by encouraging and creating favorable conditions for investments.

Prior to the signing of agreements, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, received President Rodrigo Duterte in an official welcome rites at Amiri Royal Palace. It was followed by a bilateral meeting between them and their officials.###PND

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the Abu Sayyaf beheading of Noel Besconde

We express our sincerest condolences to the bereaved family of FB Ramon 2 captain, Noel Besconde, who met untimely death in the hands of the kidnap-for-ransom group (KFRG) Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

We strongly condemn this senseless and coldblooded murder committed during the Holy Week. Local authorities and our security forces are exhausting all means to locate the captain’s remains, as our troops continue to pursue this bandit group and hold them accountable for their crimes.

We call on all citizens throughout the archipelago to remain vigilant, alert and watchful, and to cooperate with our security forces. Let us work against common criminals to make our communities safer and ensure a nation worthy of all Filipinos.

President Duterte back from three-swing Middle East visit, vows repatriation assistance for OFWs

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, April 17, vowed that government will provide assistance for the repatriation and livelihood of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as he welcomed more than 100 amnesty availees from Saudi Arabia.

“We will continue to provide… lahat ng gustong umuwi. Lahat ng gustong umuwi na Pilipino doon, makakauwi. Gastusan natin ‘yan,” he said in his speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport .

The Chief Executive arrived in Manila early Monday morning following his state visits to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain, and State of Qatar, which he tagged as his “most productive trip ever.”

Shortly before his arrival, 138 Filipinos, including 63 women, 55 men and 20 children, returned to the country after availing of Saudi Arabia’s amnesty program.

“We have an ongoing program for the repatriation of our distressed nationals. Pinapangako ko ‘yan sa inyo. Gagawa ‘yan natin araw-araw. We will have to spend money. I will look for the money,” he said, promising that the OFWs will be given primary importance.

In addition, Duterte said the government will provide capital for those who wish to start a business.

“Magbigay kami ng, nagbubuhos ako dito billion. Mag-aral o turuan kayo mag-aral ng business ninyo. Tailoring, mapa-bakery. Tapos bibigyan kayo ng capital,” he said, telling OFWs to go to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offices in their respective regions.

The repatriated workers also received 5,000 pesos from President Duterte and another 5,000 pesos from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

At the same time, the President said he has directed relevant government agencies to assist the OFWs as they “turn a new chapter” of their life.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive also recognized in his speech the Middle East as region of great importance to the Philippines.

“It is the home of the largest number of Filipino Workers Overseas. It is our partner for our conventional energy needs,” Duterte said, adding that the region is an emerging source of broader two way-trade and investments.

According to the President, Middle East is “very much, more than willing really to help the Filipinos.”

He said it is the national interest of the country “that we maintain more than just a good relation, relations between the country.”

“It is the national interest to realize all of us na merong more than a million Filipino diyan. And that is why in every state, and for every head of state that I talk to, iniistress ko ‘yan that there is so much at stake here and that we are very interested to say your nation’s stable, trouble-free and a good neighbor for everybody,” he said.

According to the President, Philippines and Saudi Arabia agreed that it is in the interest of both nations to uphold the welfare and well-being of Filipino workers.

“This is an area of partnership that we are keen on making greater strides,” he said.

The President said the government will seek permission for the establishment of a small general hospital to cater to all the health needs of Filipinos, noting that a number of OFWS needs medical attention.

“Nung pinapadala ng mga Pilipino dito sa bayan natin, malaki masyado. It goes beyond, it contributes to the gross national product. And it has played a crucial part in the economy. Importante na babayaran naman natin sila ng kaunti and so if it is, find it, na papayag ‘yung mga gobyerno nila, magtatayo tayo ng ospital doon,” he said.

Before going home to Davao, the President went to San Jose, Batangas to visit the wake of Second Lieutenant Estelito Saldua Jr. ###PND

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Winning TIME 100 Reader Poll
What makes President Rodrigo R. Duterte so admired by Filipinos and international leaders alike is his national agenda – he has prioritized public interest first and foremost, especially the needs and aspirations of the poor and common people.

With or without the distinction, the President continues to be a hardworking government worker and faithful servant of the Filipino people.

In positive terms, he has a simple 3 point agenda: Prosperity for all; restore trust in government; build a fair and equitable society.

Indeed Filipinos find in the President a kindred spirit – a leader who acts for the common good.

DuterteNomics to be unveiled

The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in cooperation with the Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence (CenSEI), will unveil DuterteNomics in a forum on April 18, Tuesday at The Conrad Hotel, Pasay City.

DuterteNomics is the President’s economic and development blueprint for the Philippines. It includes the current administration’s main governance and fiscal policies, comprehensive big-ticket infrastructure programs and upgraded social services targeted to accelerate growth, and by 2022, transform the Philippines into a high middle-income economy.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will open the forum while Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, a member of the President’s economic team, will deliver the keynote address.

The forum is divided into six sessions – Session 1: Economic Overview and Philippine Development Plan (PDP) Highlights; Session 2: BuildBuildBuild Infrastructure Plan; Session 3: Fiscal Issues on Revenue and Spending; Session 4: Mindanao Economy/ Major Development Initiatives in Mindanao; Session 5: International Context and Environment for the Philippine Government; and Session 6: Reactions to DuterteNomics.

The six sessions will be presented by notable panel of speakers from the President’s Cabinet. Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Director-General of the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA), will report on the focal points of the Philippine Development Plan 2017 – 2022 which embodies the Filipino people’s dreams and goals as also envisioned in the AmBisyon Natin 2040.

Secretary Martin Andanar of the PCOO, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and President and CEO Vince Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will talk about the Comprehensive Infrastructure Investment Program bringing about ease of access to electricity and water, increase in productivity, inter – island connectivity and overall improvement in the people’s standard of living.

Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will provide a summary of the necessary fiscal and budgetary reforms for financing the infrastructure and social spending programs.

Representing the business community is Mr. John Gaisano, Chairperson of the Board of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Inc. who will discuss the major development initiatives for Mindanao. Professor Richard Heydarian from the academe will tackle the international context and environment for the Philippine government.

Former Secretary Cielito Habito will serve as a reactor of Dutertenomics.

Former Chairperson of the Philippine Civil Service Commission (CSC) Ricardo Saludo will host the forum while Associate Professor Gary Olivar of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) will serve as the moderator of the forum.

The event’s official hashtag will be #DuterteNomics. Registration will start at 12:30PM. ###PCO-Content

Duterte Winds Up Gulf State Vists
Doha, Qatar — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, April 17, concluded his week-long Gulf state visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar with great pride, renewed hope, and big deals.
“You’re very lucky to have him as a leader. He knows what he wants for the nation,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella quoted a Qatari business leader as saying.
Duterte returned to the Philippines bringing with him more than 150 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were granted amnesty by the Saudi government.
During his state visits, the President had witnessed the signing of more than US$925-million worth of investment deals, which was expected to generate around 62,000 jobs, Abella recounted.
Duterte also saw, his Spokesperson added, signing of agreements on labor, diplomatic, health, culture, and economic cooperations.
On counter terrorism, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon met with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for a working exchange of information to combat ISIS threats.
In connection to that, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar talked to his counterpart as well in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain about the prospect of exchanging news and information between the Philippines and their country.
“We all know that the fight against terrorism is not limited to guns and bullets. It is an ideological war and we are talking about information that we can disseminate in the Muslim area in the Philippines,” Andanar said, adding that the advent of Salaam Television was something to look forward to in the area of media and broadcasting.
“It’s a whole of government approach and region-to-region or country-to-country exchange,” Esperon added.
Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo, on the other hand, disclosed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the field of culture he signed on behalf of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“(T)his will aim at reinforcing cultural programs, encouraging bilateral cultural exchanges and activities, such as, including musical, theatrical, and artistic groups, and promoting each of our country’s culture and arts in our respective countries. The MOU would also call for artistic exhibition and exchange of literary works. This would be also an important step in enhancing our relation,” Manalo explained.
On health care, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial disclosed about an MOU between Qatar and the Philippines, which was basically a cooperation on all important fields of health, particularly on research and exchange of expertise to promote the principles of reciprocity and mutual benefit.
“So it’s a very comprehensive agreement and we hope to be able to really put this into effect so that there is a bilateral exhange of expertise,” Ubial said.
On the investment protection and promotion agreement, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said it provides the basic rights and guarantees to investors. 

“It gives also like a most favored nation-type of treatment, equal treatment for both sides of investments being made. Of course, the identification of opportunities, cooperation in that field, assistance, ease of doing business are all included therein,” Lopez explained.


Lopez also mentioned that the agreement wiill pave the way for greater Qatar investments in the Philippines and the implementation of the committed US$1-billion investments from the Qatar Sovereign Fund, which can lead to an even higher allocation in the future.


Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, meanwhile, announced the commitment made by the Qatari Minister of Labor to facilitate the repatriation of 86 OFW female wards at the shelter of the PHL Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Doha. This was alongside talks between Secretary Bello and the Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development on facilitated repatriation of wards at the POLO shelter in Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as smooth implementation of the amnesty for undocumented Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.###PCO-Content