30 April 2017

President Duterte hosts 30th ASEAN Summit Gala Dinner
President Rodrigo Duterte and several foreign leaders gathered in Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila on Saturday evening, 29 April for a gala dinner hosted by the Philippines during the 30th Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

President Duterte hoped that the gathering will strengthen the old friendships among the Southeast Asian Nations and make new ones.

“We consider all of you not just as our neighbors, but friends but also our brothers and sisters,” Duterte said.

He added that the nations are all proud of the diversity of the culture and history bound as they share common vision and aspirations.

“In this fraternal bond that continues to unite and inspire us to partner for change and to engage the world,” Duterte said.

The chief executive then offered a toast to the stability of the Southeast Asian nations.

“To the unity, centrality, solidarity and continued success of ASEAN; to peace and stability in the region and continued growth of our economies; to the enduring friendships between our nations and the positive change in the lives of our people,” Duterte said.

The leaders had the chance to chat before their official family photos were taken.

Among those who performed during the gala dinner were the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Philippine Women’s University – Jose Abad Santos Memorial School Rondalla.

The guests were treated to a festive night, from the delectable food choices such as Kinilaw na GenSan Tuna, Sinigang na Sugpo ng Batangas, Suhang Davao Sorbet, Pinoy Adobar, Lapu-lapu sa Dayap, Kakang Gata sa Tsokolate, and Fiesta Halo-halo. ###PND

President Duterte holds ‘fruitful and productive’ discussions with ASEAN leaders
Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Summit were “productive and fruitful.”

In a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), President Duterte said he and the other nine ASEAN Leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest and concern.

“We acknowledged the importance of ASEAN cooperation in addressing issues that affect peace, security, and prosperity of the region, including terrorism, violent extremism, piracy, human trafficking, and illegal drugs,” he said as he faced the media prior to his hosting of the gala dinner for the visiting Heads of States and Governments.

He said aside from regional grouping’s work in the community building process , they also discussed the implementation of the blueprints and work fronts of the three community pillars: the political security community; the economic community; and the sociocultural community in achieving the realization of ASEAN Vision 2025.

He also cited his productive engagements with parliamentarians and youth representatives of ASEAN whom he said are “vital components in keeping the engine of ASEAN growth running smoothly.”

​The President said the leaders also acknowledged the need to deepen awareness and instill a sense of community among the peoples of ASEAN​.​

​”​We look forward to the full and active participation of all ASEAN citizens for them to effectively play as key partners for positive change in the regional community building​,” he said.​

The President also reiterated his campaign against illegal drugs and is looking at a harsher penalty. “As it is, look at the penalty. Look at the penal provisions of their countries. It’s death by hanging. It’s only the Philippines that has abrogated or suspended the death penalty,” he said.

The President quoted Aung San Suu Kyi’s concept of “right and responsibility” in relation to his campaign against illegal drugs. “And she was very correct. When you have a right, you have a responsibility too. It’s not just a right. You have your human rights, yes, correct. But that human right given to you must be used by you to preserve human right also,” he said.

​On the situation in North Korea, President Duterte admitted that the ASEAN as a bloc is “extremely worried.​”

​He noted that powerful countries like the United States must be prudent and patient in dealing with North Korea.

“I’m sure President (Donald) Trump by now is cautioning his military to just maybe hang on there and not to start something which they cannot control,” he said.

“Everybody’s worried. Nobody’s clapping his hand. And I’m sure that if war breaks out in the Korean Peninsula, the imponderables of life is really you cannot foresee even project what will happen,” he added.

The Chief Executive said the ASEAN will issue a communiqué or a statement about the situation in the Korean Peninsula.​​ ###PND

PH hosts successful 30TH ASEAN Summit
The Philippines’ successful hosting of the 30th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit concluded with leaders working towards the realization of ASEAN Vision 2025.

“At the 30th Summit of ASEAN, we had engaged in a productive and fruitful deliberation of ASEAN’s work in the community of building process,” the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said in a press conference on April 29.

“We also discussed the implementation of the blueprints and work fronts of the three community pillars: the political security community, the economic community, and the sociocultural community as we work towards the realization of ASEAN Vision 2025,” he added.

The major highlights of activities of the Summit Week included the state visit of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei Darussalam on April 27. President Duterte welcomed Sultan Bolkiah in Malacañan where both leaders witnessed the signing of the bilateral agreements aimed at promoting cooperation between the two countries in the fields of culture and the halal industry.

In the evening, he hosted a state banquet for the Sultan of Brunei whose country is considered by the Philippines as its “most valued friend and ally.”

The next day, April 28, President Duterte welcomed another state visitor, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in Malacañan where the two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation on areas of mutual interest.

They witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Agriculture and the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Sea Connectivity between Davao, General Santos in Southern Mindanao, and Bitung, North Sulawesi, which Duterte and Widodo led its formal launching in Davao City on April 30.

Duterte likewise hosted a state banquet for Widodo. In his toast, President Duterte underscored the deep and long lasting friendship between the countries saying that the Philippines considers Indonesia “a family.”

Prior to the state banquet, President Duterte attended the 14th ASEAN Leadership Forum, highlighting the importance of inclusivity in uplifting the lives of the people in the region.

Duterte said that as ASEAN continues to work together in shaping positive changes, it must also pursue greater international engagement to advance common interests.

During the Summit Week, the Philippines also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest and concern as it acknowledged the importance of ASEAN cooperation in addressing issues that affect peace, security, and prosperity of the region—that included addressing the problems on terrorism, violent extremism, piracy, human trafficking, poverty and illegal drugs. There were also the productive engagements with parliamentarians and the youth of ASEAN.

“We look at the progress of our cooperation with external partners and the future direction of ASEAN’s engagement with them, noting the importance of ASEAN Centrality which shows that relations only bear fruit if cooperation is anchored on mutual respect and benefit,” President Duterte underscored on April 29 in his speech during the 30th ASEAN Summit opening ceremony.

Following the Summit’s launching, President Duterte along with other nine leaders of the ASEAN Member States signed the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of the Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

They officially adopted a declaration which underscores the significance of the civil service as the backbone of good governance in the region and its role for enhanced cross-sectoral and cross-pillar cooperation in ASEAN community building and in providing support to furthering regional integration.

Alongside the Summit’s opening, Duterte’s common-law wife Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, meanwhile, toured the spouses of the ASEAN heads of states to the National Museum. She also hosted a luncheon and watched a cultural presentation with them.

First Ladies Iriana Widodo from Indonesia, Naraporn Chan-o-cha from Thailand, Tran Nguyen from Vietnam, and Naly Sisoulith from Laos joined the tour.

At the 30th ASEAN Summit Gala Dinner, President Duterte feted the ASEAN leaders and their spouses to a night of good food and entertainment. He likewise proposed a toast for the stability and continued success of the Southeast Asian nations.

After a productive week of open discussions, sharing inputs, and exchanging of views, President Duterte thanked the ASEAN leaders during the Summit’s gala dinner.

The Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN Summit this year is doubly significant as it coincides with the ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary. ###PCO-Content

Philippines, Indonesia open Mindanao-Indonesia RoRo shipping network
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte and his Indonesian counterpart President Joko Widodo led the launching ceremony Sunday, April 30 of the ASEAN Davao-General Santos-Bitung RoRo Shipping Network aimed at boosting trade, tourism and investments.

“As we open this new maritime trade route, we reaffirm our ties with each other and commit ourselves to aspirations of the larger ASEAN Community,” President Duterte said during the launch at Kudos Port, Sasa, Davao City.

“This route shall be the first of the many routes that will form the international RORO network envisioned by our fellow ASEAN leaders to provide greater accessibility and open more opportunities for our countries,” he added.

The President said that when he visited Indonesia in September last year, one of the most important commitments he forged with President Widodo was the opening of the ASEAN Roll-On, Roll-Off route between the Philippines and Indonesia.

The ASEAN RoRo Shipping Network, which will cross the cities of Davao and General Santos in Mindanao and Bitung in North Sulawesi, will not only connect the Philippines physically with the rest of ASEAN but it will also integrate the two archipelagos with the rest of the region.

He said they are hopeful that by opening new ports and exploring possible new routes, trade, tourism and other areas of development among ASEAN member-states will be stimulated further.

The route will significantly reduce the shipping time of transported goods from the usual five weeks to just two or three days, the President said noting the lower logistical cost for transportation will drive competition, attract new players and increase the demand for jobs.

“This will not just strengthen intra-regional maritime connectivity among ASEAN members. It will also introduce new opportunities for trade expansion with larger and emerging economies outside our region,” he said.

As part of the larger ASEAN RoRo Shipping Network, the route will help ASEAN realize its collective goal of creating an integrated regional market and will complement its own domestic infrastructure modernization program, he stressed.

To realize this, the President encouraged the private sector to play its part in harnessing the potentials of this new RoRo network.

By promoting this route, private businesses do not only take advantage of the opportunities, but also contribute to the sustainability of this entire regional shipping network, he said.

President Duterte also thanked President Widodo and the Indonesian government as well as the private sector for their support to make the first ASEAN Roll-On, Roll-Off route possible.

Benefits for Mindanao

With the opening of the route, a roll-on roll-off service will begin plying the Davao City-General Santos City-Bitung route on April 30, 2017 providing faster and cheaper channel of trading goods among the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA).

M/V Super Shuttle RoRo 12, operated by the Asian Marine Transport Corp. will provide a weekly shipping service to the route with a vessel capacity of 500 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).

The opening of the route is a more cost and time efficient alternative to the usual Manila to Jakarta to Bitung route, which would take about three to five weeks of shipping time.

A savings up to $1,500 (P74,000) per TEU is estimated in using the route given its $700 (34,713) per TEU rate per 20 feet dry container as compared to using the Davao-General Santos to Manila to Manado via Jakarta route, which amounts to $2,200 (P109,098) per TEU.

The goods from Mindanao that will be shipped to Indonesia include animal feeds, fertilizer, construction materials, ice cream products, poultry, fresh fruits, and synthetics.

Imports from Indonesia on the other hand will be matured coconut, copra, corn, feed ingredients, lumber, cement, high value crops, vegetables, meat, peanuts, aqua products, charcoal, soya, coffee beans, and sugar.

The RoRo route will be beneficial to Mindanao as it improves the competitiveness of the products coming from the region, which has been gaining interest within the sub-region.

It will also provide a more efficient access for local businessmen to engage in trading with their Indonesian counterparts.

A study conducted by the Research Education and Institutional Development Foundation through the US Agency for International Development in 2010 revealed that the North Sulawesi-Mindanao sea link offers strong potentials for international trade and commerce between Indonesia and the Philippines since it offers a proximate channel for the shipment of goods.###PND