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Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion together with Merly Cruz (Go Negosyo adviser for MSME development) and Jopin Romero (ASEAN BAC Philippines adviser) met with PSE president and CEO Ramon Monzon and director and chairperson of Philippine Association of Securities Brokers and Dealers Inc. Vivian Yuchengco for a possible collaboration on a mentorship program.
I am currently in Russia with the business delegation of President Duterte’s state visit. We are prepared to meet the business community of Russia. But things have changed since an armed group called Maute took hold of Marawi City. Because of this security threat in our country, the President opted to cut short his trip and return to the Philippines. But prior to his flight back home, he had a short bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin who personally expressed his condolences for the “horrible terrorist attacks.”
The Maute group is extremely dangerous and I agree that martial law is needed, but maybe not in the entire Mindanao. I felt the President could have continued with his meeting with Putin yesterday and stated that he is cutting his trip short. His policy speech in Moscow State University should have been done where he would have stated in his speech why he has to fight drugs and insurgency in a different manner and right after, he would immediately fly out. This I think could have been a better approach. But he is the president and his call was to go home immediately. Like a father, he could not sleep seeing his children suffering. I guess if we look at it in this light where our child is at danger, we too would have taken the next flight home.
The entire government delegation, except for Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, and Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, went back to the Philippines. Together with the business delegation, the four will continue with the scheduled events and meetings with our Russian counterparts.
The Maute Group is dangerous. This is an armed group largely based in Lanao del Sur. Additionally, there were reports that the radical group has pledged their support to the international terrorist group, ISIS. This is why we need to be vigilant and keep safe during these times.
We should support the President and I totally agree that martial law is needed. It is no longer important to debate if it should only be part of Mindanao or the entire island group. We have to solidly support this effort to crush and eradicate this kind of insurgency. We cannot afford that another area like Sulu be treated with threat and terrorism. We should put an end to this banditry so as to stop the emergence of other armed groups.
This is a moment of crisis and the President will need the nation’s support. Politics should be set aside. We are one in this battle against terrorism. Since the President is from Mindanao, I am sure he has a deeper knowledge on how to deal with armed groups. I fully understand why the President has to be very strong in his decisions to keep drugs and terrorism away from every Filipino. All these have to stop. We cannot achieve our goal of prosperity with these threats around us.
For me, having prosperity will lead to peace. With inclusive economic growth, people will focus on how to prosper and not rebel. With livelihood, people will work for their family and not result to rebellion to get what they want. On the other way around, peace will also bring prosperity. Without these conflicts, we can continue to create a better community in the country.
The business community will support the President and his team in this fight against armed groups. Let’s extend our support and prayers to the soldiers, policemen and local government units who will be in Marawi to protect our civilian brothers. May this conflict end with minimal losses.
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Recently, I was joined by Merly Cruz (Go Negosyo adviser for MSME development) and Jopin Romero (adviser to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council chairman) and met with the Philippine Stock Exchange represented by its president and CEO Ramon Monzon and director and chairperson of Philippine Association of Securities Brokers and Dealers Inc. Vivian Yuchengco for a possible collaboration on a mentorship program for MSMEs to handhold them towards getting publicly listed.