15 May 2017

President Duterte affirms ties with Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat
BEIJING, CHINA – In a bid to strengthen cooperation with Asian neighbors, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte held his first bilateral meeting with Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat on 14 May 2017.

During their warm and cordial first meeting, the two leaders expressed their satisfaction with the development of bilateral relations and pledged to further enhance economic and people-to-people cooperation between the two countries. The two leaders exchanged views on expanding interaction in many areas, including in agriculture, trade and investment, finance, and tourism, among others. They also noted the desirability of an exchange of visits among the senior officials of their respective countries in order to explore opportunities to expand economic, political, and cultural ties.

On strengthening political and institutional relations, Prime Minister Erdenebat said that Mongolia looked forward to convening the next round of consultations in order to review and strengthen the cooperation of the two sides.

In discussing regional developments, President Duterte expressed his view that peace is better served when there is more participation by stakeholders in the region. As Chair of ASEAN in 2017, President Duterte also welcomed Mongolia’s growing ties with the region. The President thus felt that closer partnership with ASEAN, including Mongolia’s possible membership, would be desirable, and he said that he would take up the matter with ASEAN leaders.

Both leaders also expressed the desirability of visiting each others’ countries at mutually convenient dates.

Mongolia is host to more than 200 Filipinos, a number of whom work in professional services. ###DFA/PND

China’s Belt & Road Initiative complements Build-Build-Build
(BEIJING, China) – The Belt and Road Initiative spearheaded by Chinese President Xi Jin Ping as a platform of international cooperation and development among nations complements the Duterte administration’s Build-Build-Build-Infrastructure Plan.

This was the message conveyed by the President’s men before the members of the media who attended a briefing at the Grand Hyatt Beijing Hotel Sunday evening, May 14.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived in China’s capital city, Beijing May 13 to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

“He (PRRD)’s being invited to speak two times tomorrow (May 15) during the leaders’ roundtable. Once in the morning, where he will be speaking about generating economic growth and tackling economic challenges. The second will be he’ll speak again in the afternoon on clean and green infrastructure,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official Evangeline Ong Jimenez-Ducrocq said.

Infrastructure interconnectivity is a key target of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez mentioned that the One Belt, One Road can be maximized in the context of Philippine development goals, including the Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Plan to attract more investments.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza shared the same sentiment adding that the insurgency and criminality in the South are driven by lack of economic opportunities.

“And if we can bring in the infrastructure development in the South, it will be included in this One Belt One Road, the investment will come, then maybe we can address some of the problems, economic problems in the South and improve the security situation in the country, “ Lorenzana underscored.

Also, Secretary Lopez brushed off worries that the Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Plan would be fueled by loans from China that would later put the country into a debt trap.

“Even as we speak of ‘yung Build, Build, Build and financing that growth and the infrastructure program, we are not really talking of loans na heavy. It will be budgeted… And in fact, in terms of loans, ang pino-project doon, 80 percent local, domestic loans. And only 20 percent ang foreign loans. So all these discussions are premised on ano ba talaga ‘yung plano rin natin and we’ve presented already those plans. So hindi po tayo maiipit doon,” Lopez assured.

The DTI Secretary then took the occasion to cite the importance of passing the tax reform legislation of the Duterte administration.

“That’s the reason why it’s important to pass the tax reform program… Yun din ‘yung paggagamitan at gagamitan ng infrastructure budget. Kaya nga very important ‘yung tax reform program kasi internally generated ‘yung funds to support the build up, “ Lopez explained.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano noted that the Philippines, owing to its archipelagic nature, has to improve its infrastructure and inter-connect, with or without this Chinese initiative. However, the Belt and Road Initiative gave international context to the infrastructure plan of the Duterte administration.

“We have to really build, build, and build. But with the build, build, build also of the Belt and Road, it opens us up to other markets,” Cayetano further said.

The Belt and Road Initiative is, indeed, more than infrastructure connectivity. It has become enlarging market base, diversified financing schemes, people-to-people connectivity, among others.

“(Belt and Road Initiative) touched on peace and cooperation, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

The One Belt, One Road Initiative originated from the ancient Silk Road linking Asia and Europe through trade from Xi’an in China, Central Asia, Middle East, Europe and Russia and the maritime Silk Road started from Fujian through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and the Mediterranean, stopping in Africa along the way. ### PCO-Content

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the complaint against PRRD as being insufficient in substance
The House has declared the impeachment complaint filed by Congressman Gary Alejano against PRRD as insufficient in substance; we maintained that it was from rehashed, trumped up charges aimed at undermining the duly constituted government.

The President respects a co-equal branch of government and does not interfere in the political exercise. Neither is he beholden to any group and he remains focused on governance.

The Chief Executive is currently in China to bring more foreign investments in his effort to bring comfortable lives to all Filipinos. The improvement of the welfare of the Filipino people is the paramount consideration.

DuterteNomics in China launched
(BEIJING, China) – Members of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Cabinet presented before the international media, including the local Chinese media, and businessmen the economic and social development blueprint of the Philippines, aptly called “DuterteNomics,” on the sidelines of the One Belt One Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Grand Hyatt in China’s capital, Beijing on Monday, May 15.

“DuterteNomics is the brand we’ve given to the President’s philosophy and strategy for economic governance.  It’s a strategy that’s driven by our dream of building a nationwide infrastructure network that will connect all of our seven thousand islands into one cohesive and dynamic whole, into Asia’s tiger economy,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said during his welcome remarks.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez blamed poor infrastructure why the Philippines was left behind by its neighbors in the region.   

“For an archipelagic country, poor infrastructure is debilitating.  It raises the costs of transporting good between islands.  That is the reason our food price regime is high.  Our congested roads and ports discouraged investors who need to operate on just-in-time deliveries.  Our high power costs and unstable supply discouraged investments in manufacturing,” Dominguez underscored adding that it is in the area of poor infrastructure where the Philippine should begin rebuilding its competitiveness.

This is echoed by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto Pernia when he said, “Regional and rural development is the hallmark of DuterteNomics,” adding that infrastructure will create employment, vitalize the regions and reduce inequality and poverty.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno explained that “government is responsible for the planning, financing and building projects through competitive public bidding.”

“By taking the start-up responsibilities, government will effectively de-risk projects upfront.  This allows the private sector subsequently to provide operations and maintenance, or to acquire the projects after they have been seasoned,” the Budget chief further said.

Joining the three Cabinet members of the President’s economic team in the panel are Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which supervises the Philippine construction industry, a sector that plays a vital role in the Build-Build-Build campaign; Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) who discussed airports, seaports and urban mass transport; Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) who talked about a network of roads, highways and bridges; and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vivencio Dizon who mentioned the creation of new and better cities. 

Presidential Spokesman Abella, meanwhile, called on the public, the media and the business community to keep watch in these projects via the Build-Build-Build portal that was set up to promote transparency. 

Also in attendance was Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar moderated the forum.

The DuterteNomics Forum in China was the second international DuterteNomics Forum.  The international launch of DuterteNomics took place during PRRD’s official visit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he attended the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2017.  ###PCO-Content

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the Social Weather Stations survey showing +32 public satisfaction with PRRD’s Cabinet
For almost a year now, our people have witnessed the Cabinet Secretaries set the pace in transforming the executive branch into a trustworthy and compassionate government that ensures services are delivered swiftly and without delay.We thank our countrymen for recognizing the work done by the President’s Cabinet; the high public satisfaction with the PRRD Cabinet, at +32, mean that they have felt the changes.

The Cabinet continues the work of proving opportunities for employment, the building up of our people, and peace within our borders.