On Thursday, November 17, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. spoke to APEC leaders and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Marcos started by thanking their hosts including ABAC Thailand for organizing the first face-to-face APEC CEO Summit in over three years.
Since the start of the week, ABAC members have engaged in insightful discussions on how to best promote sustainable and inclusive regional growth. Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz attended as an ABAC PH member and its Regional Economic Integration Working Group (REIWG) Co-Chair / Lead for Services. This is ahead of the ABAC Dialogue with Leaders happening on Friday, November 18.
“As Member-economies of APEC, we have a great responsibility to continue nurturing this potential and to continue responding to immediate and imminent challenges. After all, the economic miracles of the past four decades were performed by the economies of the Asia-Pacific, and APEC has been nothing less than a driving force of global economic growth,” said President Marcos.
In his speech, Pres. Marcos recognized three critical issues threatening economic growth.
First, there is food insecurity, which Pres. Marcos noted is the lens through which the average Filipino family views the issues of the world given the interconnected and delicate global food ecosystem. He stressed that developing economies need policies that can ensure sustainable domestic food production and improve the supply chain.
Second, there is a need to reinforce global health systems. Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Pres. Marcos stressed that governments must continue to invest in pandemic preparedness, suggesting that adoption of the One-Health approach can be part of the solution.
Third, there is the most pressing existential crisis of our time: climate change. Pres. Marcos cited a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that stated that the Philippines is among the countries at great risk from climate change. Economically, the country stands to lose more than 6 percent of its GDP annually by 2100.
“As the energy demands of the modern global economy continue to expand rapidly, diversification into renewables and other sources is imperative,” said the President. “The Philippine government will work closely with the private sector to improve the resilience of people and businesses by leveraging the tools of sustainability.”
The forward-looking and action-oriented words of the President were well appreciated by the audience.
“As we have all clearly acknowledged this week, the challenges to our global economy and to the APEC region have been among the most daunting in recent history. But I am encouraged by the hope and optimism in the words of our President today. It’s always dark before every promising new day, but that new day will always come,” Sabin Aboitiz said.
In a room filled with the economic and business leaders of the world, Pres. Marcos summarized for what purpose they had come together through a call for cooperation.
“Global and regional economic governance platforms such as APEC are geared towards averting conflict. Like other similar post-World War II institutions, APEC should always remain cognizant of the raison d’être of international economic cooperation: Prosperity and progress is only possible in a world that is at peace, because we, as nations of the world, can never achieve our fullest potential – unless we do it together,” concluded Pres. Marcos.
The other ABAC PH members attending the summit include ABAC PH Chairman Tomas Alcantara and ABAC Finance Working Group Co-Chair Joanne de Asis. ABAC PH also includes Makati Business Club’s Guillermo Luz and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCI) Chair Emeritus Francis Chua.