The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte an “economic ambassador”: Cabinet

May 12, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte is not only a drug buster but an "economic ambassador" as well, his Cabinet officials said on Friday. The Cabinet members, who joined Duterte in the World Economic Forum for ASEAN in Cambodia on Thursday and also in Hong Kong for a two-day working visit until Saturday, said the president received warm reception when he explained to business leaders in WEF his DuterteNomics, which also focused on aggressive infrastructure projects. "The reception was pretty good, you know, as you could perceive and infer from the reaction of the media as well as foreign personnel, foreign personalities who were in the press conference and in the presentations in the fora, in the different fora of DuterteNomics and the Build, Build, Build," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a joint press conference in Hong Kong. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Duterte is not only known for the anti-drug campaign and in addressing criminality, but as "economic ambassador." "Whenever he’s faced with the leader, the counterpart, you know he’s the one promoting trade. He’s saying, ‘Please let us balance the trade. We import more from you'," Lopez said. "For example, that’s practically true to, with respect to China, our trade deals with them. Even with some Middle East countries in our last visit, he has been the one saying that ‘buy more of our products, Philippine products'," he added. Lopez said whenever Duterte invites investors, he tells them "to ride on the economic growth that we're having...invest and get rich." Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in Phnom Penh, Duterte talked with Air Asia President Tony Fernandes who expressed his "faith" in the Philippines and "trust" on the President's leadership. He said Fernandes wanted to expand Air Asia's operation in the country. "Now in Caticlan, I can go to Puerto Princesa, I can fly to Davao. And Mr. President, if the law would allow, I am even ready to help put up airports'," he said recalling of what Fernandes told Duterte. "This is a specific, very clear indication on the acceptability of the President’s leadership insofar as his economic program is concerned," he added. Duterte, who arrived in Hong Kong early Friday from Cambodia, has been spending a private time with partner Cielito Avanceña and daughter, Veronica. He is set to meet the Filipino community on Saturday afternoon before flying to China to attend a forum there. The president is expected to arrive in Davao City on May 16 from Beijing. (Celerina Monte/DMS)