Duterte to pitch support for MSMEs in ASEAN meeting

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Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during the opening session of the ASEAN and EU summit at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay, metro Manila

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte will urge leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during their gathering in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, Oct. 11, to support the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region and “call for economic resilience amidst prevailing global economic uncertainties,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

“The President will highlight the government’s efforts to improve its performance in achieving its sustainable development goals; urge all parties to strengthen support from micro, small and medium enterprises development; call for economic resilience amidst prevailing global economic uncertainties; encourage deeper cooperation between ASEAN, UN (United Nations), IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank to implement the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Junever Mahilum-West, DFA Assistant Secretary for the ASEAN Affairs said in a press briefing at the Palace on Monday morning, Oct. 8.

She said, “The President will be attending the meeting at the invitation of Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo.”

Mr. Duterte, according to Ms. West, “will also be joining the other leaders of the ASEAN members-states in showcasing ASEAN leadership and (in) intensifying cooperation in managing economic growth to create better prosperity and equity as well as delivering meaningful progress in achieving the sustainable development goals.”

The ASEAN leaders are expected to affirm the organization’s “commitment to support the role of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations in addressing development challenges.”

“The ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering will be a two-hour informal round table to exchange views under the theme: ‘Achieving SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals, and overcoming development gap through regional and global collaborative actions.’ It will be co-chaired by the President of the Republic of Indonesia and the Prime Minister of Singapore, as the ASEAN Chair in 2018,” she also said.

The said gathering will also serve as a “platform at the highest levels for further engagement of the ASEAN leaders with IMF managing director (Christine Lagarde), World Bank president (Jim Yong Kim), and United Nations secretary-general (António Guterres). The gathering will discuss key issues related to building synergy in strengthening financial stability in the region and accelerating economic development and regional integration as well as exploring potential collaboration to achieve development goals.”