Philippines’ Duterte laments Southeast Asia brain drain due to globalization

More than 10 million Filipinos work overseas, around 10 percent of the population, remitting billions of dollars back to the country each year. (Reuters)
Updated 09 November 2017
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Philippines’ Duterte laments Southeast Asia brain drain due to globalization

DANANG, Vietnam: Globalization has pressed the brightest workers from poor Southeast Asian countries to move overseas in a brain drain that must be reversed if real development is to be achieved, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday.
In an impassioned appeal by a leader better known for expletive-flecked outbursts, Duterte said the efforts of poorer countries to rise up the value chain are being undercut by mass migration of skilled workers.
“Globalization to a certain extent has really damaged poor economies,” he said in a speech to CEOs gathered in Danang, Vietnam, ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
By way of example he said, “the best of our young (Filipinos)... tend to go to the places where the economy is thriving,” such as the United States.
More than 10 million Filipinos work overseas, around 10 percent of the population, remitting billions of dollars back to the country each year.
He acknowledged Donald Trump’s complaints that globalization has also sent American manufacturing jobs to cheaper countries such as China.
But Duterte said poorer nations faced the hardest edge of global commerce as they are stripped of labor and raw materials to fuel a world economy they can not compete in.
He urged ASEAN — the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc of nations — to speed up economic integration to power the region up the manufacturing chain, retain its skilled workers and educate those “left behind.”
“We only provide the raw materials” which are then sent back by richer manufacturing countries for “four times the price,” he said, adding “that is globalization.”
He vowed to “forcefully” carry the message of unity to the ASEAN summit which he is hosting in Manila from Monday.
Globalization and the rules of trade are under the microscope in Vietnam this week, where world leaders including Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are set to converge from Friday for the APEC summit.


Afghanistan cease-fire push in focus in US-Taliban talks

Updated 18 December 2018
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Afghanistan cease-fire push in focus in US-Taliban talks

  • On Monday, the delegation met officials from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE ahead of their meeting with Khalilzad
  • Taliban officials were resisting the cease-fire proposal as they felt it would damage their cause and help US and Afghan forces

KABUL, PESHAWAR: US and Taliban officials have discussed proposals for a six-month cease-fire in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops as talks aimed at setting up peace negotiations went into a second day, Taliban sources said.

The three-day meeting in Abu Dhabi is at least the third time that US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met Taliban representatives as diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year war have intensified this year.

An Afghan government delegation traveled to the city and met Khalilzad.

However, despite US insistence that any peace settlement must be agreed between Afghans, the Taliban have refused to talk directly with officials from the Kabul government, which they consider an illegitimate, foreign-appointed regime.

“Discussions are taking place with the representatives of the United States about ending the occupation, a matter that does not concern the Kabul administration whatsoever,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

“The entire agenda is focused on issues concerning the occupiers and talks will exclusively be held with them.”

The Taliban delegation was led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, head of the movement’s political office in Qatar and included members of the leadership group based in Quetta, Pakistan and the chief of staff of Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

“It’s a well coordinated meeting where members from the political commissions and Quetta shura are both participating for the first time,” said one peace activist in close contact with the Taliban side at the meeting.

The presence in the delegation of senior officials close to the Taliban leader underscored the importance of the talks, which are shaping up as the most serious attempt to open negotiations since at least 2015.

On Monday, the delegation met officials from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE ahead of their meeting with Khalilzad, who was appointed to oversee Washington’s peace effort in September. There was no immediate comment from the US Embassy in Kabul.

Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US delegation was pressing for a six-month cease-fire as well as an agreement to name Taliban representatives to a future caretaker government.

For their part, Taliban priorities included the release of Taliban prisoners and a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

However, Taliban officials were resisting the cease-fire proposal as they felt it would damage their cause and help US and Afghan forces.

The latest round of diplomacy comes about a year after the US sent thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan and stepped up air strikes to record levels, with the aim of pushing the Taliban to accept talks.

An Afghan government team traveled to Abu Dhabi “to begin proximity dialogue with the Taliban delegation and to prepare for a face-to-face meeting between the two sides,” government spokesman Haroon Chakansuri said in a statement.

But there was no sign from the Taliban they were ready to accept talks with the government and the Kabul delegation were based in an Abu Dhabi hotel away from the location of the talks. The US says the aim of the talks is to facilitate an Afghan-led process and the inclusion of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan in the talks reflects a US desire to bring in countries with an interest in Afghanistan.