11 November 2016

President Duterte, Prime Minister Najib Razak tackle security, economy in bilateral talks
MALAYSIA – President Rodrigo Duterte met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia on Thursday, November 10, 2016.

Prime Minister Najib received President Duterte at the Prime Minister’s office, together with his delegation led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, Peace adviser Jesus Dureza and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Following the President’s inspection of the Malaysian honor guards, the two leaders proceeded to their bilateral meeting with the view to strengthening overall bilateral relations by fostering closer security cooperation and promoting more trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

In an interview after the bilateral meeting, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay,  Jr.  said that among the agenda discussed is how to further strengthen bilateral relationship, and how to foster vigorous trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

Securing their respective borders was also tackled including fighting piracy, criminality, hostage taking and so on, Yasay added.

According to Yasay, the two leaders agreed on reviving or strengthening the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“We know that despite the fact that in the 90s this was conceived, we have not really moved forward as vigorously as we’ve wanted to, we’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities in developing that area that we wanted to develop for the peoples in the region,” Yasay noted.

The Philippines and Malaysia have deep and longstanding relations as the two countries are neighbors in ASEAN.PND

Duterte’s KL trip to boost Phl-Malaysia ties
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte’s official visit in Malaysia is expected to produce various developments in infrastructure, agribusiness and maritime security which will keep the country busy in the coming months. 

Duterte during an early morning press conference on Friday, November 11, following his arrival from a two-country visit in Thailand and Malaysia said that the implementation of the development projects will be next year. 

“They showed keen interest in infrastructure, mass transportation development, building of regional centers, joint ventures in agribusiness, halal-certified products and high value post harvest processing facilities,” the President said. 

Duterte revealed that he opened the country to the Malaysian businessmen who expressed confidence in many of the opportunities for investment and promised the investors an environment that is conducive for industries. 

“I tasked the Department of Trade and the Industry to follow through and ensure trade and investment with our 10th largest trade partner as it continues to grows, and I refer to Malaysia,” he said.

During Duterte’s visit in Malaysia where he met with Prime Minister Najib Razak, they also talked about strengthening the Philippines and Malaysia’s partnership for a safe and secure region aside from making them a part of the phase towards the attainment of peace in Mindanao.

“As ASEAN brothers and maritime nations, we recognized that cooperation between our countries by the other stakeholders is key to ensure that our sea lanes are not used for illegal purposes or criminal activities,” Duterte said.

He said that Malaysia’s leader has committed to explore available options to ensure greater collaboration with the Philippines in making the waterways between them safe and added that the Philippines will be unremitting in the efforts to address criminality both on land, water and along the borders.

Aside from maintaining  good partnership with Malaysia and other ASEAN neighbors, Duterte also said the ties with the United States that go back centuries will be honored. 

Duterte is going around the neighboring ASEAN countries including China to invite investors and renew friendships. He also made sure that efforts to continue to make the country better and safe will be unrelenting, including his war on illegal drugs. “I will sail the state of the nation and it should be pushed by the wind doing of self-interest only. The self-interest of our nation,” Duterte said.PND

Sweden sees great potential in trade with PH

The government of Sweden sees “great” possibilities in trade with the Philippines as it reopened its Embassy in the country earlier this week.
“A year ago, the Prime Minister of Sweden decided to reopen the embassy and he did this in recognition of the very positive developments of this country, at least the economic developments,” Swedish Ambassador-designate to the Philippines Harald Fries said in a press briefing in Malacañan on Friday, November 11.
“And the Swedish government realized that there is a great potential in increased trade, investment, and people-to-people exchange between our countries,” he said.
Fries recalled that the Swedish embassy closed in Manila in 2008 as its government had to cut the cost and closed several embassies around the world due to financial reasons caused by the global financial crisis.

The Embassy official said the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg, headed the “biggest business delegation ever to the Philippines” who also arrived earlier this week.

According to Fries, Damberg had “very constructive talks” with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

“The business representatives coming from Sweden had very fruitful meetings with the Philippine business counterparts and the Swedish delegation went back to Sweden, very optimistic and hopeful about coming business partnerships with Philippine business partners here,” Fries said, adding that businessmen had very positive comments on the Philippines.

He also cited the positive factors in the Philippines such as high growth rates; growing market; stable inflation; sound fiscal situation; and young talented, well-educated, and English-speaking population.

“So many of the fundamentals are right here for increasing business relations,” he said.

“And then with the new administration, I think there are reforms taken here which are positive for increased business relations,” he added.

The Swedish government, Fries said, welcomes “very much” the 10-point socioeconomic program of the Duterte administration, as well as President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-poverty programs.

“It’s good not only for the poor people but for the whole society, of course,” he said.

Fries, however, noted that they feel the trade between Sweden and Philippines is “much too low.”

“So there’s a great potential for enhanced trade and investment relations between our two countries,” he noted.

Fries said he hopes to increase people-to-people relations, such as in the tourism sector, in academic or student exchange, and in the exchange of professionals.

In the same briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that Malaysian investors are considering setting up palm oil plantations in Mindanao and Palawan.

He said the businessmen initially plan to develop about 80,000 hectares but are considering expanding to about 300,000 hectares.

“Malaysia has 63 million dollars in investments in the Philippines, but with the strengthening of ties, we expect more investments,” he said.

On the other hand, according to Abella, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia has said the pivot to China was a preparation for the new presidency in the US “whose protectionist policies are expected to, or may affect, remittances from abroad.”

“But Secretary Pernia said that we do have a safety net which the President seems to have foreseen,” Abella said. “However, we do look forward to better relationships with all nations.”

Meanwhile, the Palace official said that the Freedom of Information Executive Order which grants public access to information of government transactions will take effect on November 25.

“I would like to take note that the President is taking the initiative to open up the Executive branch to FOI,” he said.PND