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The year 2017 is on its last few days and as we close the year, we cannot help but look back on how wonderful the year has been.
I remember last January, we were planning for the year and meeting with partners. Now, we have all our partners beside us as we cherish this year’s success!
Last Monday, before the hustle and bustle of all the Christmas parties and get-togethers and just right after the fruitful ASEAN Week, we had a simple appreciation dinner for all our partners – both private and public.
I was happy to see our Cabinet secretaries and other members of the government who are our allies for growth and development. Among the secretaries and government officials who attended were Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, Science and Technology Secretary Boy de la Peña, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea, former spokesperson Ernie Abella, current presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PA Michael Diño, BCDA president Vince Dizon, PA RJ Jacinto, chief legal counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo, Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Puyat, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Dondi Teehankee, Rep. Arthur Yap, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Sen. Miguel Zubiri.
Of course, we also have our private sector partners including Tessie Sy-Coson, George Barcelon, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Manny Pangilinan, Enrique Razon, Erramon Aboitiz, Kevin Tan, Lance Gokongwei, Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Michael Tan, Ricky Delgado, Edgar Saavedra, Luis Virata, among others. They have been instrumental in helping us magnificently host the ASEAN year.
As we shared talks over food and drinks, I realized how we all deserve the celebration last Monday. We looked back on the ABIS2017 highlights, I told everyone that it is one of the best organized summits over the past 50 years. It is without a doubt through the leadership of President Duterte and the efforts of the private sector led by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council were able to have a great output for the 50th year of ASEAN. We are privileged to have hosted this milestone year for ASEAN.
I believe that having experienced the APEC hosting two years ago prepared us to the hosting of ASEAN. We had to live up to the expectation since ASEAN is considered as the small brother of APEC. I am glad that we all made it through.
What we are doing now with mentorship and MSME development is what we have been doing for the past 12 years of Go Negosyo with Sec. Mon Lopez. We are glad to have Sec. Manny Piñol as well to embrace the whole spirit of helping our micro and small entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector.
I asked Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea to give a short message. He related how it was a once in a lifetime experience for him to chair the National Organizing Committee. He said, “We had more than a hundred events to prepare for in various places of the country including working groups, meetings with senior officials, ministerial meetings, and meetings with heads of government. With a lot of hard work and support from different sectors of the government, as well as the private sector, through the well-coordinated efforts, we can all be proud to say that we have hosted the 30th ASEAN and the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN successfully, safely, efficiently, and with dignity and elegance.”
Medialdea added, “May I quickly add that the real heroes of this milestone were of course: our President, who was always hands on in all major events, from site inspections to plenary and bilateral meetings with hundreds of government employees lending support to the endeavor headed by no other than the highly-esteemed Ambassador Jun Paynor who did a magnificent job; and, the Filipino people for their support and demonstration of the Filipino dignity, hospitality and courtesy to foreign guests.”
The theme “Prosperity for All” should not remain as a theme. It must be implemented. I agree with ES Medialdea when he closed his speech by saying, ““The work never ends; The work starts now.” It is indeed the time to start working on our visions and make those plans a reality. I look forward to a stronger private-public partnership next year. May the relationship between the two sectors blossom as we both pursue development and progress for our country.
No one can deny that we are still faced with extreme poverty, but if we do not play the role of sharing and helping our micro and small entrepreneurs, the challenge remains a challenge. The essence of inclusivity is in sharing.
I will continue to be optimistic about the future of this country. I know you are too. Let us all work together in achieving the prosperity that we all have been advocating for.
This is not the end. It is just the beginning.