Duterte calls for ‘economic integration’ to boost Asia-Pacific’s pandemic recovery


President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday called for a deeper economic integration to accelerate the socio-economic recovery in the Asia Pacific region amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the third day of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, which was joined by leaders from Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and China, Duterte said cooperation in the region would serve as a springboard toward recovery.

“The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement provide key frameworks that will allow a more buoyant bounce back of
our economies”, the President said via video conference.

In the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit, President Duterte reiterated his call for easy access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines.

He expressed appreciation toward China, Japan, and South Korea for their generous assistance in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and for their contribution to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.

The President also called for greater ASEAN-Australia collaboration in dealing with transnational crimes, particularly terrorism and human trafficking. 

He thanked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the technical assistance in the crafting of the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

“We must not let up in our collective efforts to combat terrorism and transnational crimes. We must continue working together to deter foreign terrorist fighters. We must address the root causes of
violent extremism and radicalization,” he said.

Morrison welcomed the President’s stand on issues of common interest such as, the South China Sea disputes, countering marine plastic debris, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity. 

He reaffirmed Australia’s interest to reinforce cooperation with the Philippines in these areas.

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