PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is undaunted by the alleged ISIS threats against him during his stay in India for the ASEAN summit and the country’s Republic Day celebration, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. said on Friday, Jan. 26.

“PRRD will not cower to threats from ISIS nor any other terrorist groups. He has pledged to serve the Filipino people and has left the issue of his mortality to the creator. He is unmoved by this latest threat and will be unrelenting in his fight against violent extremism. All precautions though are being taken by the PSG and Indian authorities,” Mr. Roque said in a Viber message to reporters in Manila.

India’s The Print reported last Thursday, Jan.25, that the host country has strengthened its security for Mr. Duterte and the other heads of states after receiving an intelligence alert that the Philippine President “is on the radar of the Islamic State.”

The spokesman assured the public that “security arrangements by both PSG (Presidential Security Group) and Indian police are in place.”

“We will all be there for and with him,” Mr. Roque added.

On the same day, Mr. Duterte formally received the copies of signed business agreements from Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez during the Philippines-India Business Forum, which was organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in New Delhi, in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr. Lopez announced last Thursday that he received seven letters of intent (LoIs) and entered into two memorandums of agreement (MoUs) with Indian firms which will give the country at least “$1.25 billion worth of investments and 10,000 jobs.”

According to Mr. Roque, the President said in his speech at the Plenary last Thursday night that ASEAN countries should collectively “address terrorist financing to prevent violent extremism” in the region.

Mr. Duterte emphasized that ASEAN and India must step up cooperation in intelligence gathering, sharing, and analysis.

The President also vowed that he “will support the conduct of regular senior officials’ meeting on transnational crime in consultation with India, adding that “protecting the future generation remains his top priority, and he also welcomes efforts to address drug menace….”

Mr. Duterte encouraged India to join ASEAN in promoting rights of migrant workers, and he said as well that he “looks forward to strengthening the aviation and maritime connectivity through the conclusion of ASEAN air transport and maritime transport agreements.”

Moreover, he invited India to invest in submersible cables and ports facilities, and mentioned that there is a need to intensify the India-ASEAN trade and economic relation through the India-ASEAN free trade area.

Lastly, Mr. Duterte has called for stronger cooperation in biodiversity conservation to address ecosystem degradation. — Arjay L. Balinbin