Duterte supports Chile’s cancellation of Apec summit

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte expressed support for Chile's decision to cancel its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders Meeting on November 16-17, MalacaAang said.

The Palace acknowledged that it was not an easy decision for Chile to withdraw as host of the Apec summit, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement issued late Friday night.

The President of Chile, His Excellency Sebastian PiAera, has made an announcement that Chile is canceling its hosting of the Apec Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) scheduled from November 16 to 17 of this year, Panelo said.

The Office of the President, therefore, expresses the country's support for Chile as it made the hard decision of canceling its hosting of the AELM, taking into consideration the interest and concerns of the Chilean people, as its country endured massive street protests that were propelled by a civil disobedience campaign over metro transit hikes, he added.

The embattled Chilean president, as quoted by several news outlets, said the October 30 decision caused him great pain, but his government needed to focus on fully restoring public order, security, and social peace.

Duterte earlier confirmed his attendance at the Apec Leaders Meeting to join 20 other heads of economies in the discussion of trade and investment issues in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as of common efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also expressed their intent to participate in the Apec forum.

Panelo noted that the majority of the economic and commercial transactions of the Philippines are with economies belonging to Apec.

In particular, they account for 84 percent of the total trade of the Philippines worldwide, 82 percent (of) total exports worldwide, and 85 percent of its total imports. Apec economies likewise account for 64 percent of foreign direct investment into the Philippines, and 83 percent of tourist arrivals, he said.

It is also worth noting that 56 percent of Filipinos abroad call the Apec region their home, and our overseas Filipino workers in this region account for 57 percent of the total annual remittances we receive in the country. As such, there are 33 Philippine government agencies engaged in the Apec process, he added.

Despite the withdrawal of the Apec summit, the Palace thanks Chile, home to approximately 800 Filipinos, for its hard work in advocating for inclusive and sustainable growth in the region, such as by prioritizing women empowerment and promoting micro, small, and medium scale enterprises, Panelo said.

We will continue to work to ensure our peoples enjoy the benefits of deeper regional economic integration, he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency