ASEAN’S RIGHTFUL GLOBAL SPOT

Editorial cartoon by Ed Rompal

Manila is host to the ASEAN Summit.

Now on its 50th year, President Duterte has seen profound parallelism between the ASEAN hosting and his leadership agenda.

The ASEAN Summit theme, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, has significance to the Duterte campaign catchphrase “Change is Coming’ as he looks at his 16 million supporters as “Partners for Change”.

The theme was decided on in last year’s ASEAN meetings in Vientiane, Laos, where the President also accepted chairmanship for this year’s summit.

With this, Duterte embarked on trips to member-nations of ASEAN, a 10-country group of Asian countries (See ASEAN Basics) to give him “the opportunity to further strengthen our ties with our key neighbors and partners… (and) to broaden collaboration (with them).”

These visits sought support for the country’s hosting “and to push for a united stand on issues affecting the region”. On the side, Duterte saw to it that he also allowed audience with the Filipino business community and overseas workers there.

The President felt that it is incumbent on him that “they hear from the horse’s mouth” the actual situation in the country, specifically on issues related to the drug campaign and on local terrorism.

In the Indonesia leg, opportunely, President Widodo discussed maritime cooperation prospects and air and sea connectivity among ASEAN nations. Vietnam leaders focused maritime security calling for joint patrols while others pledged to work with co-members on high-tech crimes, cybercrimes, human trafficking, terrorism, and rescue operations at sea and on investments and tourism.

For Duterte, this is a very auspicious time “to consolidate ASEAN to enable it to take its rightful place in the international community”.

In the process, ASEAN member-nations will pursue initiative and cooperation with other global partners “to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security and growth” while it retains in “centrality, unity and solidarity”.

 

The Philippines is a proud host in this momentous gathering of Asian allies.

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