Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he was taking steps to open up the economy to new players and foreign investors, including in power, energy and telecoms, to share its wealth and limit graft and protectionism.
He spoke minutes after his arrival home from a summit in Peru of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the leaders of which issued a joint statement committing to fight "all forms of protectionism.”
The outspoken former mayor has shown no qualms about confronting oligarchs and conglomerates who dominate the Philippines economy, which is growing at one of the world's fastest rates, buoyed by consumption and remittances.
"The only way to make this country move faster to benefit the poor is really to open up communications, the air waves and the entire energy sector," he told a news conference in his home city of Davao. "Or else, you can count on your fingers the power players of this country. I would not say that they are the elite."
He added: "I would like just to send this strong message: it's about time that we share the money of the entire country and to move faster, make competition open to all."