Duterte supports Chile's decision to cancel APEC summit


Posted at Nov 02 2019 05:55 AM

People participate in a protest against Chile's government in Santiago, Chile on Nov. 1, 2019. Henry Romero, Reuters

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte supports Chile's decision to cancel its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this month, Malacañang said Friday.

The Chilean government has made a difficult decision of withdrawing as host of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting from Nov. 16 to 17, which the President and some members of his Cabinet were expected to attend, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

"The Office of the President therefore expresses the country's support for Chile as it made the hard decision of cancelling its hosting of the AELM, taking into consideration the interest and concerns of the Chilean people, as its country endured massive street protests that was propelled by a civil disobedience campaign over metro transit hikes," he said in a statement.

Duterte earlier confirmed to attend the summit that will bring together 20 other world leaders to discuss trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez had also signified their interest to attend the major gathering, Panelo added.

Panelo said majority of the economic and commercial transactions of the Philippines are with economies belonging to APEC.

"In particular, they account for 84% of the total trade of the Philippines worldwide, 82% total exports worldwide, and 85% of its total imports. APEC economies likewise account for 64% of foreign direct investment into the Philippines, and 83% of tourist arrivals," he said.

"It is also worth noting that 56% of Filipinos abroad call the APEC region their home, and our overseas Filipino workers in this region account for the 57% of the total annual remittances the we receive in the country. As such, there are 33 Philippine government agencies engaged in the APEC process," he added.

The Malacañang also thanked Chile, home to some 800 Filipinos, for advocating inclusive and sustainable enterprises in the region, such as prioritizing women empowerment and promoting micro, small and medium scale enterprises. 

Chilean officials canceled the summit to focus on restoring law and order in the country amid violent protests over crippling inequality and poor public services.

The Latin America country will also not be able to host the COP25 global climate summit on Dec. 2 to 13, which will brought delegates from around 190 nations to talks aimed at thrashing out details of how to reduce global emissions to meet the Paris climate agreement.—With a report from Reuters