Bohol hosts ASEAN confab starting today

ASEAN Bohol 4
GRAND WELCOME.

Flags of the ASEAN member-countries are seen at the scenic approach to Dauis which leads to Panglao, the venue of the two-day ASEAN trade talks with some 250 delegates in attendance. (rvo)

Bohol’s hosting of the three-day meetings on Intersessional Regional Economic Partnership Trade Negotiating Committee (ISSL-RCEP TNC) of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) opens today at the Hennan Resort in Panglao which is organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The main bulk of the delegates of the trade meetings of the ministers of trade of the 10-country bloc making their meetings in Bohol arrive today through Tagbilaran City Airport and the seaport of Tagbilaran.

Taking separate flights or sea trips, the heads of delegates form the nucleus of the 10th ASEAN and Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) Trade Negotiating Committee and Related Meetings at the Hennan Resort in Panglao. 

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DTI sponsors the AHKFTA from today (April 19) to April 21.

The meetings in Bohol push through despite a foiled incursion of an armed group believed to be of the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf, according to military intelligence reports. 

During the day of the encounter between government troops and the armed bandits, Governor Edgar Chatto clarified that the incident is contained in a few barangays of Inabanga.

As the military operatives proceeded to clear the encounter sites, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that Bohol ASEAN meetings would push through. 

 Taking the cue from the Armed Forces of the Philippines officials, Chatto also assured that Bohol would be a safe place, its tourism hardly dented by the Inabanga incident. 

At least some delegates at the Tagbilaran City Airport, including Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary for Peace and Order Catalino Cuy arrived yesterday, according to Capitol’s Special Events Unit head Liza Flores. 

Confirming their attendance to the meetings are Director Julia Tijaja of the ASEAN Secretariat, International Trade Cooperation Ministry of Trade of the Trade Negotiations Committee Director General Iman Pambagyo, and DTI Assistant Secretary Anna Maria Rosario Diaz Rubeniol. 

Arriving at around 9:40 a.m. today are the delegations of Singapore led by ASEAN Division of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Sulaimah Mahmood and Indonesia Ministry of Trade Director Donna Gultom. 

Also confirming their attendance to the meetings and events in Bohol are Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade First secretary Yusdiman Saman, Cambodia’s Deputy Director General of International Trade Tan Yuvaroath. 

Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce Director General Dr. Laohua Cheutching, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry Deputy Secretary General Isham Ishak and Myanmar’s Director of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development Tin Aye Han. 

Thailand’s Department of Trade and Negotiations Director of ASEAN Affairs Bureau Chotima Iemsawasdikul, and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade Director Coung Ba Tran would be leading their delegates composed of trade and industry consultants, legislative teams and support staff. 

While the ASEAN trade meetings hosted by the DTI in Bohol may tackle relevant regional trade policies, the National Organizing Council has closed the events for media coverage.

This was reiterated by ASEAN NOC consultant, retired general Josephus Angan, during the final coordination meetings with Bohol local organizing council held at the Philippine Ports Authority Multi Purpose Hall on Monday. 

The arrival and the departure events, however, are open to media coverage but only for photos and no media interviews are allowed, according to the NOC. 

Arrival and departure events are subject to regular security measures in place at the airport and the ports, and coverage protocols include smart casual attire for Bohol media, NOC said. (Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-7/Bohol)



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