By Irma Isip
September 08, 2016
The Philippines is pushing for full integration of sub-regional agreements within Asean particularly the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) to maximize the opportunities presented by existing and future free trade agreements (FTAs).
Speaking at the 13th Asean Business and Investment Summit in Vientiane on Tuesday, President Duterte reported it will open Mindanao and the Visayas with high quality backbone infrastructure , improving national roads and bridges.
To be a global player, Duterte said, Asean must ensure the effective implementation of key economic agreements and the integration of existing sub-regional cooperation frameworks in Asean such as the Greater Mekong Sub-region, the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle and the BIMP-EAGA.
“Hailing from Mindanao, I commit to promote BIMP-EAGA,” Duterte said.
Duterte also called for Asean’s support for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and expressed hope to further expand the roll-on roll-off facility to Davao-General Santos and Bitung in Indonesia.
“We will work and collaborate with Asean in helping the MSMEs look for all ways to connect them in the countries of Asean and the world. We will work in advancing our policy and regulatory environment providing affordable and innovative digital platforms, and accessing best practices and financial resources,” Duterte said in his speech.
The President also noted the need for Asean to engage the world in a “robust way” by maximizing FTAs with Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Japan and Korea.
He also said the Philippines will host the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership senior officials’ meeting in November.
Duterte added Asean needs “stronger resolve and action to combat transnational crime” and noted that illicit and illegal drug trade undermines “social cohesion, the rule of law and the socio-economic programs of a country.”
In a separate speech delivered before members of the Asean Business Advisory Council, Duterte noted that sensibly-crafted and well-implemented laws are imperative towards bringing good governance and order, as well as providing an enabling environment for the country’s progress and prosperity.
“We should act together in concert to ensure that the economic gains we made so far will advance at full speed, so that Asean can confidently play its rightful role as a global player contributing to economic growth and prosperity,” he said.