10 September 2016

ASEAN 2017: Partnering for change, engaging the world
The Philippines will be hosting the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) across 11 cities nationwide.

These events include the 30th ASEAN Summit in March and April to be held at Mactan Island, Cebu and the 31st ASEAN Summit in August at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

During turnover ceremonies in Vientiane, Lao PDR on Thursday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte accepted the ASEAN chairmanship for 2017 on behalf of the Filipino people. The official launch of the Philippine chairmanship will be on January 5 in Davao City.

The summit will revolve around the theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” This is in keeping with the administration’s policy of change and cooperation with its closest Asian neighbors and ASEAN partner countries.

In preparation for the hosting, a video presentation was shown after the closing ceremonies of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane. The video highlighted the Philippines’ achievements as one of ASEAN’s founding members in 1967 and the country’s contributions to the alliance.

It ended with a simple message from President Duterte: “In 2017 we, the Filipinos, are proud to welcome you to 7,107 islands of beauty, wonder and fun that will make a year of memories last a lifetime. Mabuhay at dagahang salamat.” (AAA/JAG/PND)

For the country’s future I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines- PRRD
JAKARTA, Indonesia — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is firm and will pursue his promise to have a better Philippines and protect the future generation.

Duterte during the meeting with members of the Filipino community here said “I will do what I think is best for my country, to the best interest of the Philippines,” as he reiterated “I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines, not the republic of the international community.”

He said that the threat posed by illegal drugs is one which will affect the future of the country’s population, thus the need to urgently attend to it.

“I will continue the campaign against the criminals.”

The President said that with the help of the almighty, he believes that what his administration started is attainable. “I will suppress drugs and in the fullness of God’s time, maybe two years. You can walkabout in the Philippines, free of the fear of being mugged. But you have to pray, not because you love me, you have to pray because you need.”

In Laos where he spoke before the members of the Filipino community, some of them coming all the way from Thailand, the President assured that they will go home to a better country.

In both countries, the President mentioned of the many cases where children of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who are giving their sweat and blood to provide a living for their families back home and to send the children to school, end up with a segmented family, worse, some have children hooked on drugs. Sadder, some of them go home with their daughter raped by a drug addict or killed on the street by a crazy drug user.

While difficult, President Duterte is determined and will not spare anybody. “Nobody in the horizon of the political arena was talking about the seriousness of the drug problem. Nobody was talking about the number of crimes committed against the innocent and hapless civilians, everywhere. Nobody was talking about graft and corruption.”

The reality of the extent of the drug problem was not made known in the past but shocked many when President Duterte started the campaign. “It was the naked truth that was really very, very terrifying. Two years before, sabi ng PDEA, Drug Enforcement Agency: There were about three million already infected with drugs,” with about 600,000 voluntarily surrendering and admitting their involvement to be able to avail of the government’s rehabilitative programs.

In a conversation between Indonesia President Joko Widodo and President Duterte, he related to the Filipino community “Mr. President, what’s the dimension of your problem?” “Me in Indonesia, I have four million drug addicts.” Eh sabi ko, “nauna ka lang pala nang ilang thousand.”

Duterte said that the extent of the problem is something which cannot be set aside. Being the leader of the nation he is firm with his stand that the programs of the government to make the country better, to make the people safe is something that nations cannot meddle into.

“I do not answer to anybody except to Filipino people. I’m only responsible to you.”

The drug problem is not confined in the Philippines but is wrecking other nations as well. Indonesia has a death penalty, with President Widodo stood his ground. And I salute him. Cambodia, Cambodia is a satellite of… China. Laos is, kanila ‘yan satellite. China nandiyan lang ‘yan sila sa periphery. And even Thailand. Death penalty lahat ‘yan.

Becoming the country’s leader, he said he was probably placed in office for a purpose. “I don’t know if God has a purpose for me.” President Duterte says that up to his last day in office, he will do everything he can to assure that the country will be a good place to live in especially for today’s youth who are the future’s hope. (LTA/PND)

Duterte, Widodo to intensify maritime cooperation
JAKARTA, Indonesia—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday signed the Joint Declaration on Maritime Security and Law Enforcement that would strengthen maritime cooperation against piracy in this part of the Southeast Asian region.

In his press statement following his tete-a-tete with President Widodo at the Istana Merdeka, President Duterte said the meeting was “productive and fruitful.”

He however said that both leaders expressed “grave concern” on maritime security, to which both agreed to further intensify maritime cooperation, particularly in the Sulu Sea.

“We discussed ways of strengthening existing bilateral cooperation and identified new areas of partnership, including maritime security and law enforcement. We agreed to step up joint measures to address the issue of piracy and lawlessness in the waters in our region,” Duterte said.

“We agreed to encourage the earliest and effective implementation of cooperative frameworks to address security issues in maritime areas of common concern. We expressed commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure security in the Sulu Sea and maritime areas of common concern,” he added.

The President also said the two countries have agreed to explore cooperation on human resource development, fisheries and aquatic resources expertise and shipbuilding cooperation.

Meanwhile, PRRD thanked President Widodo for the “warm welcome and the exceptional arrangements” given to Duterte and his delegation during his first working visit to Indonesia.

He said Indonesia remains to be Philippines’ “big brother,” and that the country values its long-standing ties with Indonesia. He looks forward to Widodo’s visit to the Philippines at a “mutually convenient time.”

Duterte said he and Widodo were able to discuss the South China Sea issue as well as terrorism and illegal drugs. “We called on parties to respect the rule of law and welcomed the support of partners in efforts to ensure the security and stability in the region, especially in the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with international law,” he disclosed.

“Both sides likewise viewed with grave concern the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. We agreed to work together to prevent, arrest and prosecute all those who seek to sow fear and terror in our societies,” he further said.

The two ASEAN leaders share a deep concern over the trade in illicit and illegal drugs and its social impact. “We will seek ways to intensify cooperation in the campaign against illegal drugs. We will do our part in contributing to the aim of a drug-free ASEAN Community,” President Duterte emphasized.

PRRD’s visit to Indonesia came after his successful attendance at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane, Lao PDR, which was his first foreign trip since he was inaugurated as President last June 30. (MSN/JAG/PND)

PRRD commits to pursue peace diplomacy
President Rodrigo R. Duterte reiterated his stand on the peaceful settlement of disputes and vowed to pursue an independent foreign policy.

In his arrival press conference on Saturday at the Davao International Airport, the President said, “In our foreign relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. We will observe and I must insist, I repeat, I must insist on the time-honored principles of sovereign equality, non-interference and commitment to peaceful settlement of disputes to best serve our people and to protect the interest of the country.”

President Duterte led a 30-man Philippine delegation to the just-concluded 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in Laos followed by a working visit to Indonesia.

“I do not have an obligation to please everybody or to please one person. But if you’re a Filipino, I am at your service because I work for you. I receive my keep for the day from the pocket of the people,” he said.

Recounting what transpired in Vientiane, PRRD said everybody, especially the ASEAN leaders, were concerned about the China issue and hoped the conflict would not go out of control or result in any military confrontation.

“We have been very consistent that we can only talk about this issue in peace and we avoid challenging and you know expressions of anger, because after all, you cannot solve this problem with anger,” the President said.

“But I assured everybody that there are only two options there: You go to war and pick a fight, which we cannot afford at all, or talk, and because also of the desire of everybody to avoid any regional conflict, that might not really be good at all.You have to talk with sense and we appeal to the humanity of the fellow in front of you,” he stressed.

Earlier in Jakarta, President Duterte said, “War is no longer the vogue of the moment. It’s not the practice anymore. We should avoid war. We should avoid conflicts. I am a peaceful man now, after the ASEAN.” (PPA/JAG/PND)