27 April 2017

Duterte to host ASEAN Summit Gala Dinner
The Heads of States of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their spouses will be feted on Saturday, April 29, to a night of best Filipino cuisine and entertainment at the ASEAN Summit Gala Dinner at the Grand Ballroom of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

Hosted by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the gala dinner, themed “ASEAN Fiesta,” will showcase the Filipinos’ innate warmth and hospitality as a people.

“ASEAN Fiesta,” a post-Summit event, aims to celebrate the Philippines’ cultural diversity and commonality with its ASEAN neighbors. It will display the Philippines’ unique brand of hospitality, art and culture, and outstanding local talents; and will also showcase the commonalities of Filipino heritage with their ASEAN brothers.

An estimated 800 guests composed of the ASEAN heads of states, their spouses, their respective delegations, members of the diplomatic corps, government officials and business leaders are expected to attend the festive occasion, depicting a sense of community, harmony and togetherness.

The ASEAN leaders will wear Mindanao-inspired barong Tagalog by Rajo Laurel, featuring fabric from different Philippine ethno-linguistic tribes.

Their spouses, meanwhile, will be resplendent in their respective Rhett Eala formal wear made from gazar or mikado fabric for the top and crepe fabric for the bottom.

While a sumptuous dinner is being served, guests will be serenaded by a string octet from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

A cultural presentation will follow. Dubbed as “Golden Weave,” it will consist of four parts beginning with the ASEAN Gold Overture, featuring instrumental solos of indigenous instruments from different ASEAN countries; followed by Post Cards and Songs, introducing world-class Filipino artists singing a mash-up of ASEAN pop hits, well-known standards and current chart-toppers.

The third part will be the Dances, Gongs, and Strings, a graceful cavalcade of Philippine dances from the Cordillera’s dance of the banga to Pangasinan’s wasiwas dance up to the ‘pandanggo sa ilaw’ of the South. Finally, the Fiesta to cap the event, which will highlight the irresistible beats of the Buganda Drumbeaters, driving home the message of a nation famed for artistry, for its unending fiestas, and for beauty.

Before Dinner

Filipinos celebrate milestones through various cultural festivities. Staging a fiesta is one way to honor their important guests.

ASEAN leaders, together with their spouses and delegates, will be treated to various fanfares from start to finish. The program will include native dance and music performances akin in origin and style from other ASEAN cultures.

As the guests arrive at Sofitel, they will be greeted by locals wearing various indigenous garbs and a welcoming music to be rendered by the Citizen’s Brigade Band of Dasmariñas, Cavite. A singkaban arch and festival banners will welcome guests at the hotel driveway.

While they continue to promenade to the cocktail area at Le Bar, the sights and sounds of the Philippines continue to envelop them this time with a rondalla background music.

The mood and texture will change from upbeat to majestic as the guests proceed to the hotel’s grand ballroom where its lobby is adorned with Mindanaoan decor, jewel tones, and intricate detail.

Inside the ballroom, the concept of Philippine fiesta will continue with colorful decor complemented by the merry sounds of the gongs and kulintang ensemble.

Meanwhile, the Romblon Room, served as the holding room for the ASEAN leaders, will showcase the furniture pieces of world-renowned designer Ito Kish.

A photo opportunity with the ASEAN leaders and their spouses donning Mindanao-inspired attire will take place prior to the gala dinner.

The Gifts

The ASEAN Heads of States will be presented with wood trays made of Philippine Mahogany with brass etching.

Three design motifs are prepared, featuring Philippine art and culture: one is the singkil, a folk dance from Maranao; another is a pattern copied from the traditional tapestry called T’nalak of T’bolis from South Cotabato; and the Sarimanok, a legendary bird with colorful feathers said to be a symbol of good fortune.

For their spouses, they will be presented with clear tempered glass cheese plates as tokens.

The tokens come with two design accents: brass kulintang, an ancient instrumental form of music, in nickel plate; and brass Sarimanok in nickel plate. ### PCO-Content

Brunei’s Sultan Bolkiah in Manila; first State Visit under the Duterte administration
President Rodrigo Duterte and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yan Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will hold a bilateral meeting in Malacañan on Thursday afternoon, April 27.

Sultan Bolkiah arrived in Manila on Wednesday night April 26, for a State Visit, ahead of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings.

The President looks forward to meeting His Majesty the Sultan to build on the gains achieved during President Duterte’s visits to Bandar Seri Begawan.

President Duterte and the Sultan of Brunei are expected to discuss ways of further strengthening cooperation in both bilateral, subregional and regional settings.

Among the agenda items are intensifying political and security defense exchanges; enhancing collaboration in combatting terrorism, violent extremism and piracy at sea; and strengthening the campaign against the illegal drug trade.

President Duterte will also highlight Brunei’s crucial role in the pursuit of just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao as well as the importance of increased two way trade and investments, including in agriculture and halal industry development.

“This is a much awaited visit of a very important partner and special friend of the Philippines,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Sultan Bolkiah arrived in the country on board a Boeing 747 and was given full military honors at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Sultan Bolkiah was received by Philippine officials led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Meynardo Montealegre.

A State Banquet in honor of Sultan Bolkiah will be hosted by President Duterte on Thursday night.

It will be recalled that President Duterte visited Brunei in October last year as part of his introductory visit to ASEAN member states.

Sultan Bolkiah’s visit to the country, meanwhile, coincides with the 30th ASEAN Summit.

President Duterte will chair this year’s 30th ASEAN Summit on April 29 involving the Heads of States/Governments of 10 ASEAN Member States, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Preparatory meetings, involving ASEAN Ministers and Senior Officials, takes place from April 26 to 28.

The 30th ASEAN Summit is the first of two leaders-level meetings that the Philippines will convene this year as Chair of ASEAN.

The second one, the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, will be held in November and will be participated in by the ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, such as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.

Malacañang has declared a special non-working day in Metro Manila on April 28.###PND

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the state visits of Sultan of Brunei and the President of Indonesia
The state visit of His Majesty Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei scheduled on April 27 and the state visit of Indonesian President Widodo scheduled on April 28 are excellent opportunities for the Philippines to further strengthen bilateral relations with our ASEAN neighbors.

President Duterte will separately discuss with Sultan Bolkiah and President Widodo issues of common concern, such as security of our sea lanes, cross-border traffic and patrol, and economic cooperation.

The President can also be expected to discuss the situation of Filipino workers in these countries, including the case of Mary Jane Veloso.

ASEAN to hold first Prosperity for All Summit
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma “Joey” Concepcion III on Thursday, April 27, announced the holding of the first Prosperity for All Summit of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) during a press briefing held at The Conrad Manila.

PA Concepcion, also the Chairman of the ASEAN – BAC, hopes to convince the more developed countries in the region to help those countries lagging behind, and for big business to give a lending hand to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“ASEAN stands as 10 countries and it is my belief that 10 countries can co-exist to continue beyond 50 years if everybody is a winner, and not just a few countries are winners.  It is important that ASEAN remembers that the inclusivity especially for those who are at the bottom countries will try to aspire to be successful as Singapore, Malaysia, by more successful countries,” Concepcion said stressing that ASEAN is inclusive.

“It is to benefit all nations, and every Filipino and every nationality in the 10 countries.  This is the reason why we chose Prosperity for All,” Concepcion underscored.  “And it is very clear from the council members today as we had our meeting, is that they want each and every country to rise together and nobody is left behind.”

The Prosperity for All Summit, with the theme, “Partnering for Change, Creating Prosperity for All,” will be held tomorrow, April 28 with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha in attendance.

“Prosperity for all also falls to the citizens of each nation, especially the Philippines. We all see that poverty is our biggest problem. Poverty is the cause for major problems like drug addiction and a lot of crimes,” PA Concepcion pointed out.

President Duterte’s adviser for entrepreneurship likewise mentioned the importance of creating awareness in the importance of an inclusive environment, particularly in getting big business to help the small businessmen such as the micro and small entrepreneurs.

MSMEs play an important role in alleviating poverty by providing much-needed livelihood activities for those who live below the poverty line.

“Our MSMEs who basically like in the Philippines comprise 99.6% of the entire business community. 0.4% belongs to the large companies. We are really encouraging all these 0.4% largest corporations to really help the 99.6% of micro and small.  This is the same scenario that we receive in many of the other countries in the ASEAN who are less or not in the same footing in terms of economic prosperity. One program that we feel that really can create and help our many micro and small entrepreneurs is the mentoring program that we have started to embark,” Concepcion said.

Mr. Concepcion added that one of the deliverables for the ASEAN in 2017 is to create the ASEAN Mentoring Entrepreneurship Network where volunteer mentors of each country that can pooled together and be shared by each member country as to specific areas of expertise, such as in the fields of agriculture and technology.

Prosperity for All Summit is one of the related ASEAN meetings this Summit Week that will culminate on the 30th ASEAN Summit on Saturday, April 29.###PCO-Content

PH, Brunei ink agreements on Cultural Cooperation, Halal industry during Sultan Bolkiah’s state visit
The Republic of the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam signed bilateral agreements aimed at promoting cooperation between the two countries in the fields of culture and the halal industry.

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yan Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam witnessed the signing of the agreements during the latter’s State Visit in Malacañan Palace on Thursday, April 27. Sultan Bolkiah is also in the country to attend the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which the Philippines is hosting this year.

Chairman Virgilio Almario, National Commission on Culture and the Arts, and Honorable Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, inked the agreement on cultural cooperation which aims to promote cooperation in the field of culture and arts by enhancing institutional networking and people to people exchanges.

It also intends to strengthen, promote and develop culture, arts and heritage cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Minister of Energy and Industry in the Prime Minister’s Office Pehin Dato Dr. Mohammed Yasmin Umar sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Halal Industry and Halal Export Development and Promotion.

The MOU aims to foster cooperation in the halal industry and halal products development, reduce technical barriers to trade, facilitate bilateral relations between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam particularly with respect to halal export development and promotion programs.

‘Meeting with Bolkiah, a success’

In a joint press statement, President Duterte said his meeting with His Majesty Sultan Bolkiah was a “success” just like his previous meeting with the leader during his State Visit in Brunei in October last year.

“We had productive discussions that show the commitment of both sides to further broaden and deepen cooperation on many fronts. These build on our earlier discussions and agreements made in Brunei,” he said.

“We recognized the importance of the ties that bind our nations and our peoples. With shared aspirations of achieving greater peace, progress and prosperity for our peoples, we agreed to further step up collaborative efforts to achieve common goals,” he added.

The President welcomed the intensified interactions and exchanges between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam saying that he and Sultan Bolkiah have agreed to utilize the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) to further deepen and expand cooperation between both countries.

Duterte said the two countries will focus on the campaign against terrorism, violent extremism and piracy at sea.

He also expressed his gratitude for Brunei Darussalam’s important role in the Mindanao Peace Process and for continuing support for efforts in achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.

The Chief Executive also welcomed Sultan Bolkiah’s strong support for the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) saying that it could bring “inclusive development to areas that most need growth.”

He also thanked His Majesty for hosting the 23,000 Filipinos in Brunei.

As chairman of ASEAN this year, the President stressed the need for ASEAN members to work together to ensure that the principled position for the peaceful resolution of disputes will be articulated fully.

“This is a collective interest that must be upheld in the implementation of the Declaration of the Code of Conduct and greater progress on the Framework of Code of Conduct in South China Sea,” he said.

Sultan Bolkiah expresses support to Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship

For his part, Sultan Bolkiah reaffirmed the two countries’ close and long-standing partnership in different areas of cooperation.

He hailed the signing of two agreements aimed at boosting cultural cooperation as well as economic partnership in the development of halal products and industry.

According to Sultan Bolkiah, they also agreed on energy cooperation which aims to enhance tie ups by exploring potential downstream and upstream activities.

The two leaders also agreed for future collaboration in addressing issues on drugs, believing that both sides will benefit from the exchanges of expertise and best practices.

He likewise expressed support for the BIMP-EAGA saying that he is confident that member countries will be able to achieve their common goals under the chairmanship of President Duterte.

“As envisioned for 2025, it is important for us to develop a resilient and competitive sub-region,” said Sultan Bolkiah.

Sultan Bolkiah also extended his full support for the Philippines ASEAN chairmanship adding that he looks forward to a successful year under President Duterte’s leadership.

“We will continue working closely particularly as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN this year. We will take this opportunity to reflect on our past achievements and share our views on the way forward for the future,” he said.

Sultan Bolkiah arrived in Malacañan Palace at 2:15 p.m. where he was given a formal welcome with full military honors.

He then proceeded to the President’s Hall for the signing of guest book. This was followed by an expanded bilateral meeting between the two leaders and their officials.

A state banquet was hosted by the President in honor of the visiting head of state at the Rizal Hall.

Before heading to Malacañan, Sultan Bolkiah went to Rizal Park in Manila and laid a wreath at the foot of the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal in honor of the country’s national hero.###PND