MANILA, April 19 – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will welcome next week Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia for a formal bilateral meeting.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, ASEAN 2017 National Organizing Council (NOC) director general for operations Marciano Paynor said the meeting with the Brunei leader will be held on April 28 and on April 29 with the Indonesian leader.
Laos has also requested to pay a courtesy call to Duterte, according to Paynor. He said President Duterte may have “pull-aside” meetings with the other leaders.
At the same time, President Widodo will join President Duterte at the launching of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung Ro-Ro sea linkage route on April 30 in Davao.
President Duterte will hold a gala dinner for all the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders.
The 10 leaders will also meet at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and will have a retreat at the Coconut Palace.
In terms of security preparations, Paynor said the government is beefing up security elements following the recent incident in Bohol where soldiers clashed with members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
“So we try as much as we can to — so-called hardened tar — hardened venues et cetera, in our security preparations. Keeping in mind also the President’s directive that we should not hamper or hinder the normal flow of daily activities here in the Metro Manila area,” he said.
In the same briefing, acting Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said the recent visit of President Duterte to three Gulf states ended on a high note as he brought home with him millions of dollars worth of investments.
He said the President witnessed the signing of over USD 925 -million worth of investment deals involving businessmen from Saudi, Bahrain and Qatar, which are expected to create 62,000 jobs here in the country.
During the same briefing, the Palace welcomed the result of the Deloitte’s 2017 millennial survey conducted by one of the leading professional services firms in the country, Navarro Amper & Co., which showed that 89 percent of Filipino millennials expect improvement in the country’s overall economic situation in the next 12 months.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella noted that this is significantly higher than the global average of 45 percent and regional average of 53 percent.
The survey, where 8,000 millennials from 30 countries participated, also showed that 84 percent of Filipino millennials have expressed a positive outlook on the country’s social and political situation, higher than the global average of 36 percent.
Abella also announced a recent report done by the world’s leading mid-market business survey, Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), which showed that Philippine business leaders are among the most optimistic business leaders in the world, gaining a rate of 98 percent and placing the country in second place next to Indonesia.
This is 18 percentage points higher than the 80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 and also the highest level gained by the Philippines since 2003, Abella said.
The results of the survey reflected the sentiments of 2,400 business leaders in 36 economies.
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Maharlika is a Fil-Am YouTube personality and a political commentator.