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Last week, some members of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council flew in for a meeting in Manila after the successful ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Laos. To welcome our guests, I hosted a dinner for the ASEAN BAC members and some Go Negosyo partners and advocates.
Defense Secretary Jun Yasay, together with his wife, Cecille, joined us. We were also joined by Sen. Bam Aquino, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, DTI Undersecretary Perry Rodolfo, and Amb. Delia Albert.
During the dinner, together with Tessie Sy-Coson, Jay Yuvallos, and Gil Gonzales, we were able to welcome our ASEAN counterparts and make them experience the Filipino hospitality. Next year, most of the ASEAN BAC meetings will be held in different provinces in the country because the government is preventing the traffic and delays the public experienced last year when we hosted APEC.
In a short message, DFA Secretary Jun Yasay assured that the Philippine government is doing all efforts to encourage harmonious relationships not only in the ASEAN region but also in different parts of the world. He supports the ASEAN’s centrality and solidarity towards prosperity for all.
Oudet Souvannavong, ASEAN BAC Chair for Laos, thanked everyone for the full support they have received as they chaired ASEAN BAC and hosted the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2016. I am impressed on how Laos handled the prestigious ABIS and their term of ASEAN chairmanship. It was the first ASEAN meeting that I have attended as an ASEAN BAC Member.
In the Philippine Business Conference organized by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by George Barcelon, the official turnover of the ASEAN BAC chairmanship happened. Former chair Oudet Souvannavong personally handed me the ASEAN BAC flag. The ceremony was witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte who is the chair of ASEAN 2017.
In my speech, I recognized the founders of ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines which included my dad, Jose Concepcion Jr., together with Rose Teodoro and the late Mike Varela.
Oudet has been so kind to mentor me in this new role that I play. It has been a crash course learning and understanding ASEAN.
We look forward to hosting and organizing all the ASEAN BAC meetings here in the country together with the government as the ASEAN host.
The government’s theme for ASEAN’s 50th anniversary is “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” As for ASEAN BAC, we thought of making ASEAN understandable for the masses and not just for the business sector. We also thought of making everyone part of the vision of prosperity, of inclusive growth.
Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion, wife Marissa, and daughter Isabella together with DFA Secretary Jun Yasay and wife, Cecille.
I believe the theme for the business sector, “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All,” is very meaningful and important. It should be embraced by our ten ASEAN partners, the entrepreneurs, and the people from each participating nation.
It is very important for each nation to come together and help one another because it cannot just be only two or three countries that are progressing leaving the seven countries behind. It defeats the vision of prosperity for all. As I said, the President’s mission is to bring about change and make many of our micro and small entrepreneurs succeed in life. This will eventually erase the poverty that many of our people still experience.
We are working hand in hand with the government, the Department of Trade and Industry led by Secretary Ramon Lopez, and the business sector and we are committed in solving the greatest problem in the country which is poverty. Given this, it is a chance for us to extend ourselves to those who need mentoring.
I then presented the video of Imelda Basilan, the maruya vendor we met in Davao as we launched Mentor Me. The video featured the part where she is being interviewed by Kuya Rody. According to her, she is lucky to have been selected by the President to be interviewed.
Through the mentorship of micro and small entrepreneurs, we will help them level up in life. And this is the kind of change that we want in the country, to see them move up the ladder.
Change will happen little by little. It is better to take small steps towards achieving our goal. At the end of the day, we need to see prosperity happening in all ten countries – in all its citizens.
I also joined the delegation of President Rodrigo Duterte in China. This is said to be the largest delegation of businessmen to attend a trade visit. I was told that more than 400 delegates have registered to be part of this trip. I am optimistic that there will be a positive feedback regarding the talks with China. President Duterte believes that talking to China is the right approach because we cannot engage in war. I think that as China enters the Philippine market, there will be an increase in business activity in the country and will benefit most of the medium and large enterprises. Small and micro entrepreneurs will also experience the developments as they supply to the bigger companies and value chain.
I will be sharing with you more of my experiences in our state visit in China in the next column.