PBBM: APEC must step up efforts vs. poverty, inequality

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

November 18, 2023, 2:39 pm

MANILA – The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members must intensify their efforts to create more jobs and address poverty and inequality in the region, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Saturday (PH time).

In his response to the recorded interview with the APEC secretariat on the last day of the three-day summit in San Francisco, California, Marcos said the Philippines remains a committed partner of the regional bloc and will continue to contribute to the region's agenda.

“This year’s agenda has appropriately focused on the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience. It is assuring that APEC economies are cooperating to utilize policy tools at our disposal,” Marcos said.

“We need to accelerate efforts to address structural and policy issues with the view of enabling rapid economic recovery and growth in a sustained manner that creates jobs, draws people into the mainstream economy, and reduces poverty and inequality,” he added.

Marcos emphasized that APEC remains one of the prime platforms of the Philippines to engage with economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

He said the Philippines has the tools, platforms, and mechanisms in APEC to address present and future challenges.

“In line with the APEC Putrajaya Vision of 2040, our ultimate goal is to achieve a peaceful, prosperous Asia-Pacific region where we live, and where the benefits accrue to Filipinos,” he said.

“As member economies of APEC, we have a responsibility to continue nurturing this potential and respond to immediate and imminent challenges.”

Marcos said he and his fellow APEC leaders had a discussion on how the Philippines can achieve food and energy security, as well as the economic inclusion and participation of micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital economy.

He discussed with member economies the bid for full digitalization, including the opportunities and challenges it could bring to workforces and the economic empowerment of women, indigenous people and other sectors whose economic potential remains to be unlocked.

The APEC members, Marcos said, also touched on efforts on sustainable development and addressing climate change.

To achieve the Philippine government’s economic objectives, Marcos stressed the importance of leveraging APEC’s core strengths and values in the Asia-Pacific.

Marcos said the regional bloc should also enhance its long-running partnership with the private sector and be in lockstep with the APEC Business Advisory Council. (PNA)