Duterte to big business at APEC: Don’t let globalization sideswipe small, vulnerable nations

November 9, 2017 - 8:23 PM
DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez are seen in November 2017 file photo with President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Manuel Teehankee in Da Nang, Vietnam. Lopez and Cayetano met with Australian businessmen last week in Sydney, where they heard investment plans on the sidelines of an ASEAN event. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DA NANG, Vietnam – For the first time, President Rodrigo Duterte addressed delegates to the APEC CEO Summit here, with his speech focused on globalization.

Duterte made an impassioned appeal to big, progressive countries to help developing countries so that they do not get mired in poverty amid globalization.

According to Duterte, if globalization does not yield balanced or at least equitable results, it could have a negative impact on smaller or vulnerable countries.

He noted that even Amerika itself felt the negative effects of globalization, when US companies, looking to cash in on the advantages – chiefly cheaper labor – offered by China, relocated their businesses to Asia.

As a result of this gouging out of certain sectors of the US economy, US President Donald Trump is actively urging American businesses to return, he said.

He shared as well the Philippine experience, when many people seeking greener pastures moved to America, shrinking the agricultural work force. Still other skilled workers found good-paying jobs in the Middle East and elsewhere. The result: some infrastracture projects in the Philippines are facing delays owing to the lack of skilled workers.

In his speech, the President also said: “Besides physical connectivity, we should also continue to promote people-to-people connectivity as a critical growth and development strategy. I therefore propose that business adopt an inclusive business model; that provides opportunities for those at the bottom of the pyramid.”

Duterte said he would personally thresh out globalization-related issues at the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits that the Philippines will host starting this weekend.

In front of the chief executive officers of various multinational companies gathered for the APEC in Vietnam, Duterte also underscored the need to give attention to micro small and medium enterprises.

The President said he is keenly awaiting the first ever APEC-ASEAN dialogue that will be held Friday (Nov. 10) here in Da Nang.

Duterte leads ASEAN countries as chairman of ASEAN while Vietnam leads the APEC side as chair of the global forum. Joining the forum are Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar – three ASEAN members that also want to be members of APEC.

After its chairmanship of ASEAN, the Philippines is gearing up to host the 51st Asian Development Bank annual meeting in May 2018. He expressed hope this would help boost the economies of members of both ASEAN and APEC.

After attending the APEC CEO Summit, Duterte proceeded to his bilateral meeting with the president of Vietnam, to be followed by a bilateral meeting with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil.