29 April 2017

President Duterte formally opens the 30th ASEAN Summit, pushes for drug-free ASEAN
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte pushed for a drug-free Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community as he formally opened the 30th ASEAN Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Saturday, April 29.

The opening ceremony, held at the Plenary Hall of the PICC, commenced with the singing of the ASEAN Anthem, “The ASEAN Way” led by Ms. Rachel Alejandro; followed by a cultural presentation dubbed, “Iisang Bangko Tayo” (We are in the Same Boat).

In his opening statement, President Duterte said the ASEAN must be resolute in realizing a drug-free ASEAN.

“The scourge of illegal drugs threatens our gains in community-building. I have seen how illegal drugs have ended the hopes, dreams, future and even lives of countless people, especially the youth,” President Duterte said.
“The illegal drug trade apparatus is massive. But it is not impregnable. With political will and cooperation, it can be dismantled, it can be destroyed before it destroys our societies,” he said.

The President also stressed that the ASEAN must not waver on its efforts to eliminate security threats.

“Piracy and armed robbery against ships disrupt the stability of regional and global commerce. Terrorism and violent extremism have brought the reality of attacks right on our shores and at our doorsteps,” Duterte said.

“Eternal vigilance is the price that we must pay to keep our citizens safe. We can only achieve this through advancing cooperation at the bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels,” he added.

President Duterte, who is also the chair of the ASEAN this year, likewise urged his fellow ASEAN leaders to strengthen its partnership with the business community.

“We can advance cooperation in our region by staying true, steadfast, and resolute to our processes of integration, innovation, inclusivity, and connectivity,” Duterte said, as he noted that the capacities of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be strengthened as MSMEs are engines of growth.

In the same speech, President Duterte thanked the ASEAN neighbors for its assistance to the Philippines in the wake of natural disasters.

“During our time of greatest need, you were there. We are eternally grateful. Today, I say the Philippines will do its own part to help those who are in need in our region and beyond,” the President said.

This year, ASEAN commemorates its 50th year. Likewise, the ASEAN commemorates its 40th anniversary of dialogue relations with Canada, the European Union (EU), and the United States of America, as well as the 25th anniversary of relations with India.

“These are relations that are valued. But they can be much more valuable and stronger if we learn to respect each other’s independence and treat each other as sovereign equals,” Duterte said.

“Our engagement with Dialogue Partners allowed us to set the table for meaningful discussions on maintaining peace and stability, the pursuit of development goals, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the promotion of our peoples’ welfare,” he said.

“In this milestone year, the time is ripe – and indeed it is right – to make our decisions count. It is time for ASEAN to finally assert, with conviction, its position in the international arena,” Duterte said.

Following the opening ceremony, the leaders then proceeded to the Reception Hall for the 30th ASEAN Summit Plenary Session.

In his opening statement, President Duterte said the regional grouping is dedicated in its work towards genuine transformation that will benefit the people.

According to Duterte, ASEAN was defined by unity, solidarity, and cooperation over the last five decades and these are crucial to the body’s collective success.

He, however, acknowledged that their work is far from complete. “Faced with greater challenge, we are full of hope that we will rise to the occasion and emerge politically and economically stronger,” he said.

President Duterte said the leaders will discuss the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

He was accompanied by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

The opening ceremony, on the other hand, was attended by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Cabinet officials, the Diplomatic Corps, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa.

The cultural presentation featured the CEU Folk Dance Troupe, Sindaw Philippines Performing Arts Guild, Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, SFC Lahing Kayumanggi Mananayaw ng Marikina, and the Manila Symphony Orchestra. ###PND

ASEAN leaders adopt declaration on role of civil service as catalyst for achieving ASEAN community vision 2025; hold interface with AIPA and youth representatives
The 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Saturday, April 29, officially adopted a declaration highlighting the importance of civil service in good governance and in enhancing cooperation in the region.

President Rodrigo Duterte along with other nine leaders of the ASEAN Member States signed the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of the Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 at the Meeting Room 1 of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The declaration underscores the significance of the civil service as the backbone of good governance in the region and its role for enhanced cross-sectoral and cross-pillar cooperation in ASEAN community building and in providing support to furthering regional integration.

It also highlights the contribution of the civil service to the attainment of the sustainable development goals through continuing initiatives towards the highest standards of professionalism, efficiency, effectiveness, participatory approach, responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of civil service.

The declaration commits the ASEAN Member States to promote cooperation in the development and implementation of capacity-building programs and the sharing of best practices in critical areas of concern such as environment promotion, climate change, disaster management, health, gender equality.

The declaration also envisions to raise the professional standards and capability of civil servants as well as protecting their welfare.

It also encourages a strengthening of alliance building, partnership among ASEAN Member States, as well as with ASEAN Dialogue Partners, regional and multilateral organizations, civil society, private sector, and other stakeholders.

The Leaders then proceeded to the Summit Hall of PICC for the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with the ASEAN Interparliamentary Assembly (AIPA).

In his opening remarks, President Duterte said the interface between ASEAN leaders and AIPA reflects the commitment of the executive and legislative bodies of the ASEAN Member States to the community-building process.

“Through its law-making functions and accelerating the process of ratification of ASEAN agreements, AIPA plays an integral role in ensuring that the regional agreements are carried out and implemented at the national level so that the benefits of integration are felt by our peoples in the region,” he said.

Duterte also led the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with the ASEAN Youth.

In a brief speech, Duterte said he fully believes that “our youth play a dynamic and vital role in realizing a peaceful and stable economically integrated and socially responsible ASEAN.”

He said the interface between the ASEAN and youth leaders since 2017 has served as a venue where youth can share their ideas with the ASEAN leaders.

“In return, leaders have listened to these concerns and have endeavoured to address issues concerning the youth,” he said.

The ASEAN Heads of States and Government also gathered at the Coconut Palace for a family photo and lunch prior to the signing ceremony.

It was followed by the 30th ASEAN Summit Retreat at the Formal Living Room of the Coconut Palace. ###PND

ASEAN leaders’ spouses tour National Museum
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s common-law wife Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña on Saturday, April 29, served as the official hostess to the wives of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) heads of states attending the 30th ASEAN Summit.

Avanceña toured the leaders’ wives to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila. She was assisted by the museum’s executive director Jeremy Barns.

First Ladies Iriana Widodo from Indonesia, Naraporn Chan-o-cha from Thailand, Tran Nguyen from Vietnam, and Naly Sisoulith from Laos joined the tour. They were joined by some foreign ministers and Philippine ambassadors’ spouses.

As the spouses and their entourage entered the museum, they were greeted by the sounds of Pangkat Kawayan that drew exceptional music from bamboo instruments. Known as the “Singing Bamboos of the Philippines”, the youth orchestra played a medley of popular folk songs, which included “Leron, Leron Sinta” and “Bahay Kubo”.

They proceeded to the main gallery and were given dalandan juice as welcome drinks.

A photo opportunity then took place in front of the imposing “Spoliarium” painting, the largest painting in the Philippines, by Filipino artist Juan Luna, which hangs in the museum’s main gallery.

Afterwards, the spouses were ushered to the National Art Gallery, which showcased religious, academic, romantic, classical, and neoclassical arts and sculptures from the 17th to 20th centuries done by Old Masters and National Artists.

Then, they witnessed actual weaving demonstrations by South Cotabato and Palawan weavers.

After the tour, Avanceña hosted a lunch for them held at the 3rd floor inside the Old Senate Session Hall.

The National Museum, formerly known as the Old Legislative Building, used to house the various legislative bodies of the Philippine government, and it was transformed into a dining area to accommodate the luncheon of the ASEAN leaders’ spouses.

They were feted with a sumptuous meal. For starters, they were offered pistachio-coated goat’s cheese on caramelized onions and vegetable and duck confit crepe.

For the main course, roasted angus beef tenderloin with assorted vegetables and roasted potatoes on the side were served.

Mango-basil sorbet with fresh mini mango balls and ube-sans rival brazo de mercedes with mango coulis and bits were the choices for dessert, and fresh fruit juice for beverage.

While they enjoy their lunch, the spouses and other guests were serenaded by the Voice Kids of the Philippines’ finalists Darlene Vibares and Reynan Del-Anay.

A cultural presentation immediately followed. Folk song and dance numbers were performed by Pangkat Kawayan and the Kalilayan Folkloric Dance Group.

The wives of the ASEAN heads of states were presented Philippine handicrafts each as gift and token, courtesy of the Malacañan Palace and the National Museum of the Philippines.

They were Banting brass bells made by T’boli metalsmiths using the lost-wax technique; Tingkep, a traditional basket from Southern Palawan used as containers in rituals; Ikamen, a woven pandan mat from Palawan; and T’nalak, an ikot-dyed abaca woven cloth from South Cotabato.###PCO-Content

Taguiwalo to endorse ASEAN documents for marginalized sectors
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo endorsed five outcome documents for adoption this November which aimed to benefit the marginalized and vulnerable sectors.

These included the ASEAN Instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers; the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals; the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Ending all Forms of Malnutrition; the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration of Commitment on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR): Combating AMR through One Health Approach; and the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Youth Development Index.

Taguiwalo, who chairs the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council, said “The ASEAN Summit, with the Philippine Chairship, highlights the camaraderie among our nations with a common goal of uplifting the lives of our people.”

In another development, Taguiwalo announced her Department’s hosting of two forthcoming international events.

“We will host an ASEAN High-Level Conference on Social Protection in Manila on August 18-20. It aims to provide a venue for interactive discussion, consultation, and sharing of best practices among ASEAN national and international organizations on social protection,” Sec. Taguiwalo said adding that the conference would also serve as venue to discuss updates from ASEAN Member-States relative to the adoption of the Declaration, and Framework and Action Plan.

Taguiwalo later mentioned that the conditional cash transfer would be part of the August discussion.

Another meeting organized by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC), The Cross Regional Meeting for Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence, would likewise convene in Manila on June 6-8.

“The meeting will provide a venue to discuss updates on the efforts of the government, civil society and other stakeholders, highlight the role of children in eliminating violence against children,” she said.

Meanwhile, Manila would host two key health-related activities through the leadership of the National Nutrition Council and the Department of Health, namely, the ASEAN Conference on Nutrition and Breastfeeding + “Hakab Na” on August 5 and the Traditional Medicine Conference – Milestone Achievements of ASEAN Member States on September 26-27.###PCO-Content