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Last Jan. 25-26, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council held its 69th ASEAN BAC Meeting in Manila. As ASEAN BAC chairman, I led the discussion of priorities and programs for the Philippines’ chairmanship this year, which coincides with ASEAN’s 50th anniversary.
Prior to the meeting, the ASEAN BAC members were invited to the Department of Trade and Industry’s launch of the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program held in Malacañang. President Rodrigo Duterte and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez led the launch. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, government officials, foreign ambassadors and dignitaries, and entrepreneurs were also present.
Sec. Lopez and President Duterte pressed a ceremonial pillar to commence the presentation of business programs. Lopez shared the list of programs organized for ASEAN’s 50th year, which include the ASEAN MSMEs-Mentors Conference, the ASEAN Women’s Business Conference, Inclusive Business Summit, ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival, Slingshot ASEAN, ASEAN MSME Summit, and many more.
Joining the meeting were members of the council, heads of the ASEAN Working Groups on women, youth, MSME, inclusive business, and business chambers. ASEAN Working Group heads Chit Juan (Women), DTI-BSMED director Jerry Clavesillas (MSME), Rommel Juan (Youth), and DTI-BOI ASec. Fe Reyes (Inclusive Business) presented their programs for 2017. All these working committees will have summits highlighting their respective sectors, which will all be in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and ASEAN BAC.
I also hosted a welcome dinner for ASEAN BAC members, which was attended by government officials, ambassadors, enablers, business orgs, the different chambers of commerce, and entrepreneurs. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella gave a short message. Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Nora Terrado delivered a presentation on the Philippine Business Agenda for ASEAN 2017. Other presentations during the dinner included the Manila Declaration of the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association, Asian Development Bank lead economist for trade and regional cooperation Jay Menon’s “ASEAN Economic Community: Challenge and Opportunities,” and USAID Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) Project chief of party Dr. Enrico Basilio.