11 September 2016

Duterte recaps successful maiden overseas trips
President Rodrigo R. Duterte wrapped up his first foreign trips as the Philippines’ head of state, which brought him to Vientiane, Laos for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits, and to Jakarta, Indonesia for a working visit.

In his arrival statement delivered at the Davao International Airport on Saturday, PRRD reported that both trips were focused on advancing the national interests of the Filipinos in the regional and world community.

The President engaged the leaders of ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners on important global issues that impact on the peace, security, stability and prosperity of the region.

PRRD also expressed the Philippines’ concern over developments in the South China Sea but stressed our commitment to a peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, encouraging leaders to support the individual and collective efforts to bring security and stability in the disputed waters through a rules-based approach for resolving maritime issues.

He thanked the country’s partners for expressing sympathy and solidarity over recent events of terrorism and violent extremism in Mindanao and urged leaders to cooperate and redouble efforts to address the menace. underscored the country’s grave concern on the proliferation of the illicit drug trade and the social illness that breeds corruption at the highest levels, tears apart the fabric of society, and debases human dignity.

President Duterte assured the ASEAN neighbors that actions being taken in the fight against the illegal drug trade are within the bounds of the law. He called for greater regional cooperation in capacity building and law enforcement efforts.

The ASEAN chairmanship was also formally bestowed upon PRRD in time for the 50th anniversary of the alliance in 2017. “On behalf of the Filipino people, I accepted with great humility the Chairmanship of ASEAN from Laos.” he said.

“The Philippines is open for business,” the President proudly declared at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. The Duterte administration will do its part in making the business environment conducive to micro, small and medium enterprises.

At the sidelines, PRRD met separately with leaders of Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, and Vietnam. He discussed with them his vision for partnerships based on mutual trust and respect, identified ways to move relationships forward, and thanked them for hosting Filipino workers in their countries.

In Indonesia, President Duterte was warmly welcomed by President Joko Widodo. He described the warmth and hospitality of the Indonesian leader as that of a brother.

The two leaders resolved to work closer together to achieve shared aspirations of peace, progress and prosperity. This includes interdicting piracy and lawless elements at sea, fostering greater economic cooperation and integration, as well as enforcing laws and building capabilities to fight the illegal drug trade and criminality.

The President also took time to meet with the Filipino community in Jakarta and thanked them for their good work. He reminded his kababayan that they contribute to the socio-economic development of the Philippines and that they should be respectful of the laws of the country that hosts them.

“In our relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. We will observe and insist–I repeat, I insist on the time-honored principles of sovereign equality, non-interference, and the commitment to peaceful settlement of disputes to best serve our people and protect the interests of our country. Daghang salamat.” (AAA/JAG/PNDC)

Andanar: PRRD made Filipinos proud
President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s first foreign trips gave pride to Filipinos as he fought for their rights and the nation’s interests.

Thus did Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar in an interview Sunday over Radyo ng Bayan sum up the just-concluded visits of the President to Laos and Indonesia.

Secretary Andanar said President Duterte’s pronouncement that our country will pursue an independent foreign policy was the most important message of the overseas travel.

He called on Filipinos to stand on their feet and proudly wave the Philippine banner as he echoed anew what President has been repeatedly telling about the lessons in our history during the Spanish rule and American colonization.

“Mahalaga din na naiparating ng ating Pangulo sa ibang bansa na tayo’y nakikiisa sa ASEAN region pagdating sa foreign trade, pagdating sa panawagan natin na kailangan masusunod — rule of law,” the PCO chief said, citing as example the decision of the International Arbitral Tribunal on the West Philippine Sea.

“Kung meron mga desisyon, halimbawa na lamang ‘yung Permanent Court of Arbitration, ay dapat nasusunod natin ‘yung mga foreign bodies that guide the different countries, ASEAN for instance, doon sa mga disputes,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Secretary Andanar called on Filipinos to help one another as authorities can not do it alone and need the support of the public in the fight against terrorism, referring to the 9/11 tragedy in New York City 15 years ago.

“We have learned so much from the 9/11 incident. Marami din Pilipino na naging biktima. In fact, during that time, we remember that we were also anxious for the lives of the OFWs or the migrants in New York,” he said. (PPA/JAG/PND)