Duterte at APEC 2017

HOTSPOT By Mocha Uson

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2017 in Vietnam, wherein he not only took part in the event’s activities, but likewise made room to catch up with some members of the Filipino community in the country. But what earned him praise was his consistency in the matters of global economy. In his keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit, he once again stressed that globalization “should pave the way to equal distribution of wealth, and that it should create an inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity to grow.” 

Currently consisting of 21-member states representing the Asia-Pacific region, in a nutshell the organization aims to improve each other’s economy and shared prosperity. But how exactly does the APEC affect our lives as Filipinos? While this annual forum discusses economic matters that concern the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, the decisions and agreements made during this gathering lead to the development of economic policies that matter to each member state, such as improvements in free trade, strengthening the advocacies of micro, small, and medium businesses and helping these reach the international market, all of which were voiced out by President Duterte. 

In his keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit, President Duterte emphasized on the salience of working together, not just of the member states but also with the cooperation of local and international business communities, to achieve a prosperous future for all. “As leaders in our respective fields, we must ensure that globalization does not lead to wealth generation, but equitably, wealth distribution as well,” he said.

Aside from physical connectivity, President Duterte also encouraged the business community to “continue to promote people to people connectivity as a critical growth and development strategy.” He likewise proposed that “businesses adopt an Inclusive Business Model that provides opportunities for those at the bottom of the pyramid.”

To end his speech, President Duterte talked about the essence of true cooperation and what the less developed countries and small businesses need. He said that in true cooperation “all are partners and everyone contributes.” He stressed that the small businesses and less developed countries are not asking for charity but “greater market access and the opportunity to participate in growth and development.”

As he usually does in his visits abroad, even when he has a busy schedule, President Duterte allotted a time to meet the Filipino community in Da Nang, Vietnam. Here he explained why he attended the APEC Summit and what it is all about. He also talked to them about globalization, both its advantages and disadvantages. In this regard, we see a leader who also finds it important for his countrymen to understand what is happening and what he’s doing for the sake of the country.

President Duterte also discussed the dangers of shabu and quoted a publication from the United Nations: “Methamphetamine. Shabu. Methamphetamine use sometimes triggers aggressive, violent and bizarre behavior among users.” He explained why he had to go to extreme measures to fight it and reiterated his warning against those who seek to destroy our country and the lives of the youth. “Do not destroy my country because I’m building a nation. Do not destroy the youth of the land that… sila lang ang ating greatest assets, he said.

In his talk with the Filipino Community, we saw the bravery of the president even against terrorists. While the terrorists are willing to sacrifice their lives, our president also stated that he is willing-and is doing the same to protect Philippines. “Do not threaten me with something which will come to me anyway. ‘Wag mo akong takutin. Sabi ko, ‘’Lika, punta tayo Marawi.’ We are here ready to die for our country. O let’s fight.”

“It’s my job.”

This is the only answer of President Rodrigo Duterte when I told him that his supporters congratulate him for his successful visit in Da Nang City, Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) 2017. We have known him for a while now, and we know that he is not too keen on recognitions or awards unlike the usual politicians who likes being in the limelight. Regardless of how hard he’s working to give the Filipinos a better future, it seems that President Duterte just wants us to see him as an ordinary government employee who’s doing his job for the country. To him, he’s just Rodrigo Duterte. A worker of the government with a task to protect the people and preserve the Republic of the Philippines for our children. This is one of the reasons why a lot of Filipinos love him: he’s not just a leader we look up to, he’s a leader we follow.

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