By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte will embark on a six-day journey to Cambodia, Hong Kong, and China this week to advance the country’s national interests, particularly strengthen the country’s economies ties with neighbors.
The President is scheduled to depart for Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Wednesday morning to participate to the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Duterte, currently the chairman of the ASEAN, is expected to attend the WEF opening plenary session and cultural soirée hosted by Cambodia on May 11, Thursday.
“And as ASEAN Chair, the President is expected to share his views on the region’s achievements and challenges, and to deliver a message to the youth of ASEAN,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said in a recent Palace press briefing.
“The President has also been given the opportunity to address international investors regarding his economic plan,” he added, referring to the government’s “Dutertenomics” blueprint.
From an overnight stay in Cambodia, the President will travel to Hong Kong for a meeting with the huge Filipino community.
As of March, around 210,000 Filipinos are working and living in Hong Kong. Most of the Filipino workers are involved in hotel and restaurant industry and household assistance.
On May 13, the President will fly to Beijing, China to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Duterte is expected to join other government and business leaders for the summit on May 14 to 15. The forum aims to build a trade and infrastructure network linking Asia, Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.
“It is important because it starts here in the region… It is helping neighbors and at the same time broadens the market,” the President said in a recent media interview about the BFR initiative.
Among the topics of discussions are infrastructure connectivity; economic and trade cooperation; industrial investment; energy and resources; financial support; people-to-people exchanges; ecological and environmental protection; and marine cooperation.