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PBBM highlights PH’s efforts to boost economic growth during ABAC III in Cebu

(L-R) Presidential Investment Adviser Frederick Go, Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, 2023 ABAC Chairman Dominic Ng, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr., Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz, Secretary of Trade and Industry Alfredo Pascual and United States APEC Senior Official Matt Murray during the ABAC III opening ceremony at the NUStar Convention Center on July 28, 2023. (PIA7)

Issues on economic integration, sustainable growth, financial services, inclusion, digitalization, and innovation were discussed during the third leg of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meetings hosted by the Philippines today, July 28, 2023, in Cebu City. 

The meeting gathered more than 200 top business leaders from 21 APEC Economies. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. served as the guest of honor and keynote speaker during the opening ceremony where he shared his administration's vision and priorities for fostering economic growth and cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region.

In his speech, Pres. Marcos highlighted the Philippine government’s AmBisyon Natin 2040, which represents the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and the country in the next 25 years. 

“It envisages comfortable, secure, and strongly rooted Filipinos, where no one is poor or left behind,” said Pres. Marcos. 

He reported the current administration’s initiatives, saying that his government has set out roadmaps to ensure that it captures these opportunities while addressing the concomitant challenges.

“Establishing a dynamic and innovative ecosystem is one of the cross-cutting strategies in our transformation agenda,” the President said. 

“Amongst others, we have enacted and enforced e-Commerce, e-Governance, and innovation, and have also made legislative reforms to make our business environment more conducive to the next generation’s trade and investment, including Foreign Investments Act amendments and the now active in the Philippines, RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership),” he added. 

The President also mentioned efforts to address food security, health system, and climate change.

He also encouraged the members of the ABAC to “hasten our development by learning from each other’s expertise and experience, and for us to ultimately find complementarities in our economies to not only strengthen our regional value chains but also create new markets and opportunities, and foster equitable growth.” 

Marcos also highlighted the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which currently make up the majority of the business in the country.

“It is in this light that I am heartened to receive the recommendation of ABAC to form a successor initiative to the Boracay Action Agenda to globalize MSMEs.  With the ambitious agenda set by the US this year for their APEC hosting and the upcoming SME Ministerial Meeting, I am certain that actions will quickly follow our intentions,” the president added.

Over 200 APEC delegates and guests gather for the ABAC III meeting at the NUStar Convention Center, Cebu City on July 28, 2023. (PIA7)
Business climate in PH is ‘good’ 

In his opening speech, 2023 ABAC Chairman Dominic Ng expressed his appreciation to ABAC Philippines, citing that “the Philippines plays an important role in establishing ABAC and the council in 1996 through Roberto Romulo.”

“ABAC solidifies its role as the voice of the private sector in APEC that would launch dialogues with the leaders which is the highlight of the APEC Summit,” Ng said.

The ABAC Philippines group is committed to advancing the interests of the Asia-Pacific business community and contributing to the region’s economic development. The third leg of ABAC will provide an opportunity to showcase the Philippines’ potential as an investment destination and to foster greater regional cooperation and integration.

Sabin Aboitiz, president and CEO of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and vice chair of ABAC Philippines Sustainable Growth Working Group, in an interview, said that the business climate in the Philippines remains good.

“It's about bigger policies. We want to give Asia a bigger voice in changes, renewable energy, and transition,” said Aboitiz. 

ABAC was created by APEC Leaders in 1995 to be the primary voice of business in APEC. 

Each economy has three members who are appointed by their respective Leaders. 

They meet four times a year in preparation for the presentation of their recommendations to the Leaders in a dialogue that is a key event in the annual Leaders Meeting.

APEC Member Economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,  Chile, China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States of America, and Vietnam. 

ABAC 2023 Chair is Dominic Ng (USA) and the Co-Chairs are Kriengkrai Thiennukul (Thailand) and Julia Torreblanca (Peru), with three (3) working group chairs, namely: Anna Curzon, Economic Integration Working Group (EIWG); Ning Gaoning, Sustainable Growth Working Group (SGWG); and Janet De Silva, Digital and Innovation Working Group (DIWG); and two (2) Task Force Chairs, namely: Hafimi Abdul Haadii, Inclusion Task Force (ITF); and Hiroshi Nakaso, Finance Task Force (FTF). 

ABAC Members representing the Philippines are Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz, Tomas Alcantara, Chair of ABAC Philippines, Joanne de Asis, Globe Capital Partners LLC Chairperson, Francis Chua, Founding Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, Philippines (ICCP), and Liveable Cities Challenge Chairman Guillermo Luz. (MYP/PIA7 Cebu)

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Rachelle Nessia

Assistant Regional Head

Region 7

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