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Duterte: PH to promote Asean as ‘model of regionalism, global player’

PH launches Asean chairmanship in President’s hometown
/ 05:10 PM January 15, 2017

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The Philippines on Sunday officially launched its chairmanship of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in the President’s hometown of Davao City, with Rodrigo Duterte calling for a more stable and independent regional community.

In his keynote speech at the SMX Convention Center, Duterte said the Philippines as Asean chair would remain “steadfast in upholding the ideals and values we hold dear and in working towards our aspirations” and committed to “building a strong and resilient Asean community.”

“I am truly honored and humbled as we launch the Philippines’ chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN… We see the very same resolve to work together for a world that recognizes interconnectedness and respects for the sovereign independence. This is one of the important lessons that ASEAN can hold to the Asia-Pacific region and our world,” Duterte told members of the diplomatic corps, Cabinet, businessmen, and guests.

“I say to you today in full humility:  the Philippines – as ASEAN Chair – will remain steadfast in upholding the ideals and values we hold dear and in working for the realization of our shared aspirations. We are committed to the building of a strong and resilient ASEAN Community. We will actively promote and enhance ASEAN interests and well-being through policy initiatives, coordination, consensus and cooperation,” he added.

Duterte said the Asean community must strive to provide “opportunities for a truly better life” for an Asean citizen. “This is a life that has broken the bonds of dependence and ignorance. This is a life that has given opportunities for self-improvement. This is a life that is provided by a society transformed and reformed,” he said.

“We must continue working on a bigger, more open and rules-based market for business and trade to thrive. We must forge on with increased people-to-people interaction through commerce, travel and education. We must strive for a region that promotes and maintains peace, security and stability,” the President added.

Duterte, known for his “recalibrated” foreign policy that veered away from the West in favor of Asian neighbors, also reiterated his call to Asean dialogue partners to “respect the principle of non-interference” to further enhance regional stability.

“The Philippines will be firm in its advocacy to promote cooperation between and among ASEAN neighbors and engage our dialogue partners to be more dynamic and vibrant stakeholders in the continued development of our region,” he said. “In our work, we will be guided by the following priorities: We will place our peoples at the core; work for regional peace and stability; pursue maritime security and cooperation; advance inclusive, innovation-led growth; strengthen ASEAN resiliency; and promote ASEAN as a model of regionalism and as a global player.”

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“I also call on ASEAN Dialogue Partners to renew their dedication to the valued purposes and principles stated in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation – including non-interference – in promoting regional peace and stability through abiding respect for the rule of law. Now, more than ever, it is a time for real change through constructive engagements,” he added.

The President also urged Filipinos to take an “active and constructive” part in the country’s hosting of the regional summit, noting that “it is our spirit of bayanihan (cooperation) that defines us as leaders of our region in these crucial times.”

“This is a golden opportunity for all to work for an ASEAN that has taken its firm and secure place in the community of nations: An ASEAN that has its own significant role in effecting positive change for our world. Let us all work hand-in-hand to make this vision a reality enjoyed by all,” Duterte said.

The Philippines’ chairmanship has the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” JE

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TAGS: ASEAN, Asean Summit, Community, launch, Rodrigo Duterte
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