© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org  | NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015

NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

OBAMA MEETS PNoy, VOWS TO ENHANCE DEFENSE ALLIANCE


NOVEMBER 18 -President Benigno Aquino III and United States President Barack Obama meet at the sidelines of the APEC summit to hold bilateral talks. Malacanang photo bureau
President Benigno Aquino III and United States President Barack Obama held a bilateral meeting on Wednesday at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. During their meeting in Sofitel, Obama assured that the US will strengthen its defense ties with the Philippines. According to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Obama said "Our alliance with the Philippines is strong and will continue to be enhanced through joint exercises and by working with multilateral organizations." "He emphasized US' strong advocacy on freedom of navigation and freedom of aviation," Coloma said in a note to Malacañang reporters. Aquino, meanwhile, thanked Obama for giving foreign military financial assistance and for supporting the construction of Manila's National Coast Watch Center. Coloma said Aquino also welcomed the proposed Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative and the assistance to help improve the maritime security capabilities of the Philippines. READ MORE...

ALSO Noy to Canadian PM: You have lots of fans in Philippines


NOVEMBER 19 -Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he arrives for a welcome dinner at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Leaders from 21 countries and self-governing territories are gathering in Manila for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The meeting's official agenda is focused on trade, business and economic issues but terrorism, South China Sea disputes and climate change are also set to be in focus. Edgar Su/Pool Photo via AP
The “APEC hotties” have attracted the attention even of President Aquino. At an expanded bilateral talk yesterday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Aquino told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he was generating much attention in the country. “You have a lot of fans here,”Aquino told Trudeau. The President was apparently referring to the “battle” on social media between Team Trudeau and Team Nieto – fans of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The hashtag for Trudeau and Nieto was #APEChotties. Posts about the two leaders were retweeted and ‘favorited’ since they arrived in the country for the APEC summit. Aquino thanked Canada for making the Philippines one of 25 countries that would receive 90 percent of Ottawa’s bilateral official development assistance, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. Aquino cited the country’s strong relations with Canada. Coloma said Trudeau vowed to support the Philippines’ possible accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led trade agreement composed of 12 countries. There was no mention of the trash shipped from Canada to the country in 2013, which environmental activists want returned to the source. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy 'swelling up with pride' after Phl hosting of APEC


NOVEMBER 19 -Philippines President Benigno Aquino III addresses a press conference at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.AP/Wally Santana
President Benigno Aquino III took pride on how the country hosted this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.
In his speech after the APEC summit concluded on Thursday, Aquino said he is proud of the APEC agenda set by the Philippines which centered on inclusive growth. "Since inclusive growth has always been the guiding principle of our administration, we are proud to have put this approach front and center throughout our hosting APEC this year," Aquino said. Aquino said he is also proud because the country laid "the foundations on which APEC can chart a course to improve trade and strengthen quality growth." The president thanked Filipinos for supporting the country's hosting of APEC. "For all these successes, I thank all those who worked tirelessly to make this event possible. Most importantly, I am grateful to our countrymen who have expressed their support for our hosting," Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO Aquino on Apec hosting: Good things come from hard work, sacrifice


NOVEMBER 19 -It’s all worth it. President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday justified the inconveniences brought by the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Manila, which forced thousands of people to walk on the road and endure hours of traffic and suspended work and classes.
In his speech during the conclusion of the Apec meeting at the International Media Center, Aquino said the results of the high-level meetings with the leaders of the 21 member-economies would be beneficial for Filipinos in the long haul.“I am grateful to our countrymen who have expressed their support for our hosting. I believe that most of our people understand the concept that good things come from hard work and sacrifice.”  “And believe me, it has been worth it,” Aquino said. The President said the world leaders praised how the Philippines hosted the Apec summit. “All my fellow leaders heaped praise on how our people welcomed them and their words really made me swell up with pride,” he added. Aquino said the country welcomed 11,000 people for the Apec summit, which was more than double the number of visitors the country accommodated when it first hosted the conference in Subic in 1996. READ M0ORE...

ALSO: Behind pomp of Apec summit, crushing poverty endures
[At Smokey Mountain, Sumaya’s village affords a commanding view of a placid Manila Bay with ships anchored off a busy port, where cranes constantly shift stacks of cargo containers. The scene reminds Juanita Espinosa, a neighbor of Sumaya, how far they have been left behind. “If I were in business like them, my life wouldn’t be like this. My children would be in school and my grandchildren can finish their studies,” said Espinosa, a 56-year-old laundrywoman. “But how can that happen?” she asked, suppressing a giggle. “I don’t even have fare money to go and apply for a job and when they hand me the form, with the little that I know, how can I ever fill that up?”]


NOVEMBER 19 -In this Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 photo, Juanita Espinosa sits and enjoys a sunset in front of her house in the slum “Smokey Mountain” in Manila, Philippines. AP
JUST a few miles from the gleaming venue hosting President Barack Obama and other world leaders sits Manila’s slum of slums on a mountain of trash, a potent reminder to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation bloc that the globalization agenda it promotes has left many behind. “What’s Apec?” asked Winifredo Sumaya, a 60-year-old jobless man standing outside a squalid shack atop “Smokey Mountain” in the Philippine capital’s Tondo slum district. The shanty village lies on a massive garbage pile which once billowed smoke, hence its name, until the dump was shut down by the government in the 1990s as it tried to remove an eyesore that symbolized its failure to ease wrenching poverty.
With the closure, hundreds of garbage-scavenging families left in search of a livelihood elsewhere, but others such as the Sumaya family came and went as they drifted in a life of poverty and uncertainty. It was unlikely Sumaya would know Apec. He doesn’t know who Obama is either. The tubercular man dropped out of grade school in Ormoc city in the eastern province of Leyte because his father, a farmer, could no longer afford to pay for education. In Sumaya’s low-slung dwelling of scrap wood, tin and plastic there’s no toilet, tap water, radio and much less a TV set. Almost everything that his family owns was recycled from nearby garbage dumps, including a baseball cap that he wore backwards, his shorts and a pair of grimy Crocs. Age and a variety of lung and other illnesses now keep him from wandering much, except when he peddles colorful hand-sewn pillows he and his wife craft from scrap cotton that they buy from Tondo’s junk shops. READ MORE...

ALSO Noy to Asean: Goodbye, it’s been a learning experience


NOVEMBER 23 -From left, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President Aquino, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indonesian President Joko Widodo pose for photographs during the 10th East Asia Summit, held alongside the 27th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday. AP
KUALA LUMPUR – Delivering an emotional speech, President Aquino bid goodbye to his fellow leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) yesterday, saying “it’s been a learning experience.”
“If I may end on a personal note, I take this final intervention as an opportunity to thank all of you for the courtesy and camaraderie you have accorded me throughout my term,” Aquino said as he attended his last summit here. Laos hosts the next summit in 2016 and by that time, Filipinos would have chosen a new president. “Prior to this job, I can probably claim to be a very well-read person, although not as well-travelled as I would have liked. My presidency thrust me into this role as diplomat, and I must say that it was truly a valuable learning experience. Our interactions have led to so much growth – for me personally, and for my entire country, as we pulled together and harnessed our solidarity to uplift the lives of the Southeast Asian people,” the President said. Aquino chose the ASEAN-United Nations Summit, the last meeting that he would have the chance to intervene, to ask for his fellow leaders’ “understanding if, in the course of building this consensus, I have caused undue strain or stress to you, my dear colleagues.” “We Filipinos like to believe that we are a religious people. As I return to life as a private citizen, be assured that while I may not be physically present as President of my country, I will remain with you in prayer and in spirit, as a true friend constantly advocating for the success of ASEAN and of your respective nations,” Aquino said. “As a final request, I ask that you extend to my successor the same graciousness, understanding, and friendship that I have experienced these past few years,” Aquino said. The President, who had been fighting for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amid dispute in the South China Sea, explained that in all of interactions and during visits to their countries, he strived to look at issues through their perspective, which gave him better insight and understanding of what each of them could and could not do. THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Obama meets with PNoy, vows to enhance defense alliance


President Benigno Aquino III and United States President Barack Obama meet at the sidelines of the APEC summit to hold bilateral talks. Malacanang photo bureau

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani Nov.18, 2015 - President Benigno Aquino III and United States President Barack Obama held a bilateral meeting on Wednesday at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

During their meeting in Sofitel, Obama assured that the US will strengthen its defense ties with the Philippines.

According to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Obama said "Our alliance with the Philippines is strong and will continue to be enhanced through joint exercises and by working with multilateral organizations."

"He emphasized US' strong advocacy on freedom of navigation and freedom of aviation," Coloma said in a note to Malacañang reporters.

Aquino, meanwhile, thanked Obama for giving foreign military financial assistance and for supporting the construction of Manila's National Coast Watch Center.

Coloma said Aquino also welcomed the proposed Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative and the assistance to help improve the maritime security capabilities of the Philippines.

READ MORE...

The Philippines and the US are improving their alliance amid the continuing South China Sea dispute.

After his arrival in Manila on Tuesday, Obama toured the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a naval vessel donated by the US to the Philippines.

Obama said he will hand over two more ships to the Philippine Navy to boost its maritime security capabilities, in a bid to show the US and its allies won't be cowed by China in disputed waters far off its coast.

Obama said the pair of ships — one U.S. Coast Guard cutter, one research vessel — were part of a broader American plan to scale up assistance to naval forces in Southeast Asia, where coastal nations feel threatened by China's aggressive moves to assert control over the South China Sea.

"More capable navies, in partnership with the United States, are critical to the security of this region," Obama said.

He said the ships would help the Philippines navigate and patrol its territorial waters.

"You can count on the United States," the president said. – with the Associated Press


PHILSTAR

Noy to Canadian PM: You have lots of fans in Philippines By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 19, 2015 - 12:00am 1 4 googleplus0 0


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he arrives for a welcome dinner at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Leaders from 21 countries and self-governing territories are gathering in Manila for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The meeting's official agenda is focused on trade, business and economic issues but terrorism, South China Sea disputes and climate change are also set to be in focus. Edgar Su/Pool Photo via AP

MANILA, Philippines - The “APEC hotties” have attracted the attention even of President Aquino.

At an expanded bilateral talk yesterday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Aquino told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he was generating much attention in the country.

“You have a lot of fans here,”Aquino told Trudeau.

The President was apparently referring to the “battle” on social media between Team Trudeau and Team Nieto – fans of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The hashtag for Trudeau and Nieto was #APEChotties. Posts about the two leaders were retweeted and ‘favorited’ since they arrived in the country for the APEC summit.

Aquino thanked Canada for making the Philippines one of 25 countries that would receive 90 percent of Ottawa’s bilateral official development assistance, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Aquino cited the country’s strong relations with Canada.

Coloma said Trudeau vowed to support the Philippines’ possible accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led trade agreement composed of 12 countries.

There was no mention of the trash shipped from Canada to the country in 2013, which environmental activists want returned to the source.

READ MORE...

APECHottie trends: Trudeau or Nieto?

Netizens are swooning over two world leaders who are in the country for the APEC summit.

Social media users named the 43-year-old Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada a “Canadian bae” and the 49-year-old Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto a “Mexican papi.”

Soon after the arrival photos of Trudeau and Nieto were posted online, hashtag #APEChottie took off Tuesday on Twitter and has trended worldwide:

@kimchi_926 : Who cares about traffic jam when u have Canadian PM Trudeau & Mexican President Nieto for #APEChottie #APECbae.

@kayiishh: One order of tacos, burrito and unli nachos! With Mexican President Nieto on the side.

@NoMediocre97 : “Knock knock” “Who’s there?” “Trudeau” “Trudeau who?” “I can make it Trudeau rain i can stand up once again.” #APEChottie

@omgbashyy: Never thought APEC would bring traffic to the girls’ hearts. HAHAHAHA #APEChottie

@khayeharthart: Something to brighten up my day. Mexico and Canada! #APEChottie

@chubbylen2 : Hahaha...the Pinoys got very, very interested in APEC 2015 coz of these two...thank you! #APEChottie

@majjestyanne : This is just so funny. haha Pinoys always look on a bright side.

Twitter user @iamthrisia quipped she will include #APECHottie in her incoming reaction and reflection papers for school while @imjesstorres likened Trudeau to Disney prince Eric of The Little Mermaid.

Presidential sister Kris Aquino also uploaded on Instagram a photo of her chatting with Nieto and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada as they welcomed the Mexican president at Rizal Park. She described Nieto as warm and appreciative of the Philippines’ hospitality in a photo caption. – With Charmie Joy Pagulong, Janvic Mateo


PHILSTAR

PNoy 'swelling up with pride' after Phl hosting of APEC By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated November 19, 2015 - 8:13pm 8 416 googleplus0 0


Philippines President Benigno Aquino III addresses a press conference at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.AP/Wally Santana

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III took pride on how the country hosted this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.

In his speech after the APEC summit concluded on Thursday, Aquino said he is proud of the APEC agenda set by the Philippines which centered on inclusive growth.

"Since inclusive growth has always been the guiding principle of our administration, we are proud to have put this approach front and center throughout our hosting APEC this year," Aquino said.

Aquino said he is also proud because the country laid "the foundations on which APEC can chart a course to improve trade and strengthen quality growth."

The president thanked Filipinos for supporting the country's hosting of APEC.

"For all these successes, I thank all those who worked tirelessly to make this event possible. Most importantly, I am grateful to our countrymen who have expressed their support for our hosting," Aquino said.

READ MORE...

"All my fellow leaders heaped praise on how our people have welcomed them, and their words really made me swell up with pride," he added.

Aquino said he and his fellow leaders agreed on overarching frameworks on regional economic growth and cooperation.

These frameworks include the APEC Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth which will guide the region in undertaking "robust, comprehensive, and ambitious structural reforms" over the next five years.

"We will focus our reform efforts, and measure our progress, in terms of institution building, social cohesion, and environmental impact," Aquino said.

"We do this with the awareness that the world economy continues to confront significant risk and uncertainty, even as trade growth is slowing down, thus impressing upon all of us, the need to tap into new opportunities for economic growth," he added.

The APEC Services Cooperation Framework, meanwhile, will help the services sectore thrive over the next decade, Aquino said.


INQUIRER

Aquino on Apec hosting: Good things come from hard work, sacrifice SHARES: 247 VIEW COMMENTS By: Aries Joseph Hegina @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 07:33 PM November 19th, 2015

It’s all worth it.

President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday justified the inconveniences brought by the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Manila, which forced thousands of people to walk on the road and endure hours of traffic and suspended work and classes.

In his speech during the conclusion of the Apec meeting at the International Media Center, Aquino said the results of the high-level meetings with the leaders of the 21 member-economies would be beneficial for Filipinos in the long haul.

“I am grateful to our countrymen who have expressed their support for our hosting. I believe that most of our people understand the concept that good things come from hard work and sacrifice.”

“And believe me, it has been worth it,” Aquino said.

The President said the world leaders praised how the Philippines hosted the Apec summit.
“All my fellow leaders heaped praise on how our people welcomed them and their words really made me swell up with pride,” he added.

Aquino said the country welcomed 11,000 people for the Apec summit, which was more than double the number of visitors the country accommodated when it first hosted the conference in Subic in 1996.

READ MORE...

The President said the number of people who visited the country for the meeting was the same number of new jobs created for Filipinos.

“Each one of these visitors creates one new job for us; they have also now seen our country and met our people. In other words, they have discovered that the Philippines not only works, but it is indeed more fun,” Aquino justified.

The Apec hosting of the country did not proceed without a hitch, however, as thousands took to the streets to slam the government for staging the event on Thursday.

Dozens of protesters and several policemen were hurt in the violent clash which ensued as protesters tried to breach the barricades set up by policemen leading to the venue of the Apec meeting.

On Monday, thousands walked the stretch of Roxas Boulevard after it was closed to motorists so that Apec leaders and delegates could pass through.

Special Apec lanes were also put up on Metro’s main thoroughfares, further worsening the already horrific traffic situation in the metropolis.

Aside from road closures, more than 200 flights were canceled during the Apec week.
The government spent P10 billion pesos for the Apec hosting.
RC


INQUIRER

Behind pomp of Apec summit, crushing poverty endures SHARES: 117 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jim Gomez @inquirerdotnet Associated Press 05:16 PM November 19th, 2015


In this Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 photo, Juanita Espinosa sits and enjoys a sunset in front of her house in the slum “Smokey Mountain” in Manila, Philippines. AP

JUST a few miles from the gleaming venue hosting President Barack Obama and other world leaders sits Manila’s slum of slums on a mountain of trash, a potent reminder to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation bloc that the globalization agenda it promotes has left many behind.

“What’s Apec?” asked Winifredo Sumaya, a 60-year-old jobless man standing outside a squalid shack atop “Smokey Mountain” in the Philippine capital’s Tondo slum district.
The shanty village lies on a massive garbage pile which once billowed smoke, hence its name, until the dump was shut down by the government in the 1990s as it tried to remove an eyesore that symbolized its failure to ease wrenching poverty.

With the closure, hundreds of garbage-scavenging families left in search of a livelihood elsewhere, but others such as the Sumaya family came and went as they drifted in a life of poverty and uncertainty.

It was unlikely Sumaya would know Apec. He doesn’t know who Obama is either.
The tubercular man dropped out of grade school in Ormoc city in the eastern province of Leyte because his father, a farmer, could no longer afford to pay for education.

In Sumaya’s low-slung dwelling of scrap wood, tin and plastic there’s no toilet, tap water, radio and much less a TV set. Almost everything that his family owns was recycled from nearby garbage dumps, including a baseball cap that he wore backwards, his shorts and a pair of grimy Crocs.

Age and a variety of lung and other illnesses now keep him from wandering much, except when he peddles colorful hand-sewn pillows he and his wife craft from scrap cotton that they buy from Tondo’s junk shops.

READ MORE...

“We need a small house that can’t be taken from us and any job for an old man like me,” said Sumaya, when asked what message he would send to the global leaders meeting under extra heavy security in a convention center 11 kilometers (7 miles) away by Manila Bay.

He and his family, the poorest of the poor, have fallen through the cracks in a Southeast Asian country where more than a fourth of about 100 million people had been mired in poverty for decades. Millions more in the middle class have left the Philippines in search of menial jobs overseas.

President Benigno Aquino III has vowed to fight poverty and corruption during a six-year term that ends in June. His government says poverty levels have decreased a few notches under his watch.

Officials credit an improving economy and a cash-transfer program that doles out money to more than 4 million indigent families upon conditions such as ensuring their children have regular medical checkups and don’t skip school.

Aquino and his officials, however, acknowledge that poverty remains a formidable dilemma.

In the wider Asia Pacific region, Obama and other heads of state worry that robust growth has eased poverty but not eliminated it. They are also concerned about the effects of rising inequality.

“Despite the unprecedented economic growth that has lifted millions of people out of poverty, it continues to be a reality for millions of others in the region,” Apec leaders said in a summit statement seen by The Associated Press before its official release. “We call for more intensive efforts for its reduction and eradication.”

As the theme-setting summit host, the Philippines has focused this year’s Apec talks on how the region of about three billion people could foster “inclusive growth.” It’s also promoting support for small businesses, many provide employment and power local economies.

But opponents argue the Apec agenda of liberalizing trade further strengthens wealthy nations at the expense of developing countries, who largely can only compete in low wage industries such as garment manufacturing.
 


In this Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 photo, Winfredo Sumaya, 60-years-old sits in front of his house in the slum "Smokey Mountain" in Manila, Philippines. Just a few miles from the gleaming venue hosting President Barack Obama and other world leaders sits Manila's slum of slums on a mountain of trash, a potent reminder of the dilemmas that haunt the free trade and globalization agenda promoted by groups like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. (AP Photo/Lino Escandor II)

That was a central theme in the rowdy protests, mostly by labor and farmer groups, which dogged Apec and police on Thursday in Manila.

“If you stay just in your hotels and the convention center and the classy malls, you’ll be seeing only one percent of the Philippines,” said a protest leader Teddy Casino. “I invite you to visit nearby communities or even just cross the street and you’ll see the truth that’s being hidden from you.”

While poverty remains in the region, free trade policies that Apec has advocated since its 1989 founding have helped about half a billion people rise from poverty to the middle class, said Alan Bollard, executive director of Apec’s Singapore-based secretariat.

“We are all concerned, I think, in every economy about inequalities,” Bollard said.

Asian nations not members of Apec have significantly lower incomes, higher poverty and problems with providing education and basic utilities such as electricity, said Eduardo Pedrosa of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

The most remarkable reductions in poverty since the 1980s have been in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. But at the same time, Malaysia, the Philippines and China have had big increases in inequality.

At Smokey Mountain, Sumaya’s village affords a commanding view of a placid Manila Bay with ships anchored off a busy port, where cranes constantly shift stacks of cargo containers. The scene reminds Juanita Espinosa, a neighbor of Sumaya, how far they have been left behind.

“If I were in business like them, my life wouldn’t be like this. My children would be in school and my grandchildren can finish their studies,” said Espinosa, a 56-year-old laundrywoman.

“But how can that happen?” she asked, suppressing a giggle. “I don’t even have fare money to go and apply for a job and when they hand me the form, with the little that I know, how can I ever fill that up?”


PHILSTAR

Noy to Asean: Goodbye, it’s been a learning experience By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 23, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


From left, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President Aquino, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indonesian President Joko Widodo pose for photographs during the 10th East Asia Summit, held alongside the 27th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday. AP

KUALA LUMPUR – Delivering an emotional speech, President Aquino bid goodbye to his fellow leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) yesterday, saying “it’s been a learning experience.”

“If I may end on a personal note, I take this final intervention as an opportunity to thank all of you for the courtesy and camaraderie you have accorded me throughout my term,” Aquino said as he attended his last summit here.

Laos hosts the next summit in 2016 and by that time, Filipinos would have chosen a new president.

“Prior to this job, I can probably claim to be a very well-read person, although not as well-travelled as I would have liked. My presidency thrust me into this role as diplomat, and I must say that it was truly a valuable learning experience. Our interactions have led to so much growth – for me personally, and for my entire country, as we pulled together and harnessed our solidarity to uplift the lives of the Southeast Asian people,” the President said.

Aquino chose the ASEAN-United Nations Summit, the last meeting that he would have the chance to intervene, to ask for his fellow leaders’ “understanding if, in the course of building this consensus, I have caused undue strain or stress to you, my dear colleagues.”

“We Filipinos like to believe that we are a religious people. As I return to life as a private citizen, be assured that while I may not be physically present as President of my country, I will remain with you in prayer and in spirit, as a true friend constantly advocating for the success of ASEAN and of your respective nations,” Aquino said.

“As a final request, I ask that you extend to my successor the same graciousness, understanding, and friendship that I have experienced these past few years,” Aquino said.

The President, who had been fighting for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amid dispute in the South China Sea, explained that in all of interactions and during visits to their countries, he strived to look at issues through their perspective, which gave him better insight and understanding of what each of them could and could not do.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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