President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday arrived in Papua New Guinea to attend the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting from November 17 to 18.
Duterte arrived around 5 a.m. at the Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby straight from his successful participation in the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Singapore.
Duterte, the first Filipino leader to visit Papua New Guinea, was welcomed by Papua New Guinea Chief of the Diplomatic Protocol Ambassador Morea Veratau, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Treasury Charles Abel, Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko, and Papua New Guinea Ambassador to the Philippines Nawi Bokuik.
The members of the President’s official delegation include Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Presidential Communications Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar.
Duterte is set to meet at least 1,000 members of the Filipino community in a gathering in the afternoon.
Papua New Guinea is home to over 40,000 Filipinos and over 200 Philippine companies operating in the country, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
On Nov. 17, among the President’s itinerary include ABAC Dialogue with APEC leaders, and APEC Leaders’ Dialogue with Pacific Islands Leaders. He will also attend the AELM Gala Dinner and cultural performance.
On Nov. 18, Duterte will join fellow leaders in an official APEC leaders’ family photo. After that, he will participate in the IMF Informal Dialogue with Leaders.
Prior to his departure for the Philippines on November 18, the President will also participate in a Leaders’ Retreat and the Leaders’ Working Lunch.
In a pre-departure briefing on Nov. 12, DFA Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said Duterte will join the APEC Leaders’ Summit to advance and assert peace, prosperity and independence in pursuit of a comfortable and secure life for all Filipinos.
Abella, former presidential spokesperson, said Duterte and other APEC economic leaders will help formulate a new and inclusive APEC Vision beyond the year 2020, raise awareness on efforts of the Philippine government to ensure food security, and advance economic opportunities for women overseas.
He described the engagement as “a new era for Filipino engagement on the world stage” since APEC is “the most important economic cooperation platform in the world.” (PNA)
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