President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Friday that the country’s growth, environment, and economy as national priorities after he returned from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Leaders’ Gathering in Bali, Indonesia.
In his arrival statement, the President underscored the importance of pursuing ASEAN-centered efforts together with heads of Southeast Asian countries and other international institutions.
“I stressed the importance of a stronger ASEAN in order to sustain the efforts towards greater peace, progress, and prosperity for Southeast Asia and its peoples,” Duterte said.
“I emphasized that we should invest in ourselves and within Asean,” he added.
According to the President, the Asean should capitalize on its strength as a highly-competitive region in order to maintain its steady growth path.
“Only when we are willing to invest in ourselves can we ensure resiliency amid the challenges of trade tensions, threats to security and stability, and increasing natural calamities,” he said.
Duterte shared he personally conveyed the country’s condolences to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian people who suffered successive earthquakes and a deadly tsunami.
“In times of need, Indonesia was ready to help. Now, we are giving back. That’s the ASEAN way. That’s our duty as brother and a neighbor,” he said.
Duterte said he met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss “delineation of the boundaries.”
“We both committed to work more closely to achieve shared goals for stability in the region,” he said, adding the government will take longer period to establish the country’s continental shelf limits.
“At the end of the meeting, the Philippines remains committed to work closely with ASEAN and key global institutions to ensure a peaceful, secure and stable environment that promotes the greater common good,” he said.
Among the officials who joined Duterte in his trip were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.