DAVAO CITY, May 11, 2017 — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbors to further cooperate among its member nations, in the midst of emerging challenges and shared aspirations.
Speaking during the World Economic Forum in Phnom Penh, Duterte said there was a need to further strengthen the economic capacities of the member nations.
“Guided by common values and shared aspirations, ASEAN is at the core of regionalism in Southeast Asia. ASEAN’s 10 Member States now stand firmly at the center of the future of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN is becoming a significant global player,” President Duterte said.
He added that the ASEAN was becoming a key element in global policy, especially amid shifting geopolitical trends.
“It plays a key role in promoting peace and stability in the region. And it is an emerging economic powerhouse,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the region was already gaining headway into the global economy.
“The region is now the world’s sixth largest economy and third largest consumer base. It stands at the crossroads of global trade flows. ASEAN is home to more than 600 million people, making it larger than the European Union or North America. ASEAN has the third-largest labor force in the world. Our young population is producing a demographic dividend. Understandably, there is increased investor confidence in our region. But while we celebrate ASEAN’s achievements, we recognize that more needs to be done for our people.”
According to Duterte, the ASEAN had a huge potential in shaping global history.
“We continue to face many challenges: Integration and connectivity efforts have to be ramped up; technical changes impact on the work force as well as the trade and investment, and capital flows; transnational crime threaten to undermine economic progress; and, development gaps threaten to hold us back from achieving the inclusive growth for our peoples. But we cannot stand by and let these challenges hold us back from achieving the future of our peoples which deserve the change. As ASEAN Chair, the Philippines resolves to establish meaningful partnerships for positive change as we engage the larger world. We aim to operationalize ASEAN’s goal of achieving a vibrant, sustainable, and highly integrated economy,” he said.
According to Duterte, he sees today’s ASEAN as “relevant, responsive and transformative.”
“We seek strengthened channels for connectivity. We will intensify efforts to narrow the development gap across all areas. This, as we seek ASEAN’s unity and solidarity at all times through a common principled position that enhances its role and amplifies its voice in the international fora. We will continue to seize opportunities with our economic partners within and outside of the region. But make no mistake: in our pursuit of integration, it is the distinctively ASEAN Way that will guide us. What does this mean? It means achieving sustainable and inclusive development for our region, according to our needs, at our own pace and guided by our core values,” he said.