President Duterte expressed confidence that partnership and mutual aid among Southeast Asian countries will enable the region to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte made the statement as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marked its 53rd founding anniversary Saturday.
In a statement, Duterte noted that ASEAN’s commitment to community-building became even stronger with the challenges the regional bloc face, particularly the pandemic.
“Bouncing back from the pandemic appears to be a daunting task. But if pursued with friends, the burden is shared and transformed into an opportunity to create a more resilient Southeast Asian region,” he said.
The President said that with a deeper sense of common purpose, Southeast Asian countries will continue to work together as one ASEAN and strengthen partnerships with friends within and outside the region.
“We are confident that the ASEAN way of partnership and mutual aid will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with our community-building endeavors,” he said.
The ASEAN was established on Aug. 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration by its founding members — Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
Brunei joined on Jan. 7, 1984; Vietnam, July 28, 1995; Laos and Myanmar on July 23, 1997; and Cambodia, April 30, 1999, to make up the current ten member-states of ASEAN.
According to Duterte, the founding members of ASEAN committed to binding themselves in friendship and cooperation in order to secure for their peoples enduring peace, freedom, and prosperity.
“More than five decades hence, we celebrate ASEAN as a community of ten member-states with one vision and shared destiny,” he said.
The President said that as a force for peace and prosperity in the region, ASEAN has had indeed unparalleled success.
“Today, ASEAN is the fifth-largest economy in the world, driving growth and development across the region. It is at the center of mechanisms promoting peace and stability in our rapidly changing regional environment,” he said.
“More importantly, ASEAN is moving closer to becoming one politically cohesive, economically integrated, and socially responsible community,” he added.