Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
January 24, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte outlined several priorities as the country chairs this year’s 30th and 31st Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits during his message in the ceremonial launching and unveiling of the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program (ABIP) at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.

In his speech, President Duterte said he wants to make micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) active and competitive towards integration into the national and regional value chains; invest in the areas of technology, innovation and creativity that would spur growth in existing industries, as well as stimulate new ones, including start-ups; and empower women to achieve full economic potential and to bridge gender gap that would yield US$9-billion additional output to East and Southeast Asian economies in 2025.

“I urge you all—our business leaders and enterprises—to take an active part in vital programs developed to support initiatives under the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship,” the President said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also revealed the yearlong plans of the Department of Trade and Industry as it chairs the ASEAN’s Committee on Business and Investment Promotion (CBIP). Among the lined-up activities are the ASEAN MSMEs-Mentor Conference in April that coincides with the Leaders’ Summit; the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibit that would showcase 10 ASEAN member states including the hosting of the International Food Exposition (IFEX) in May; the ASEAN Women’s Business Conference in August; the 2nd ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival in September; the Slingshot event in October, which is spearheaded by DTI, to create a regional network of ASEAN ecosystem players composed of start-ups, investors, mentors, academe, and industry experts; and an MSME Summit that will be held towards the end of the year.

“We shall work hand-in-hand in creating paths that will lead our people and our communities towards a truly inclusive, innovation-led shared prosperity,” Secretary Lopez said.

Also joining the President on stage during the event were former President and now 2nd District Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, and ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Chairman Jose Maria Concepcion III.