President Duterte expressed confidence that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will emerge victorious in its fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic like it always does when faced with challenges.
Duterte made the statement as the regional bloc celebrated the 54th anniversary of its establishment on August 8.
In his message, the President said ASEAN was no stranger to difficult times that test its capacity to act together to surmount different challenges.
He said the enduring bonds of amity and solidarity among member-states have always pulled through.
“Notwithstanding the difficulties we face as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, I am confident that ASEAN will prevail as it has done so many times in the past,” Duterte said.
“ASEAN will continue to rise to present challenges and lead the region with renewed sense of purpose and an even firmer commitment to the ideals of peace, freedom, and prosperity,” he added.
A long way
President Duterte said that ASEAN has come a long way since it was established in 1967 during a period of great power rivalry and tensions.
He described the regional bloc as one of the world’s most successful institutions.
“With more than five decades of community building, ASEAN has gone from strength to strength as the friendship and cooperation among its members deepened,” he said.
“As we celebrate our collective achievements and reflect on how far we have come as one community, may we always remember and value how much stronger we are together than on our own,” he added.
Meanwhile, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said being a member of ASEAN, which he described as an intergovernmental organization, has never been more important, especially with the ongoing health crisis.
“ASEAN has been a vital mechanism in media, communications, and information exchanges on best practices in addressing, responding, and managing the impacts of COVID-19,” he said.
“We are confident that through our existing mechanisms in ASEAN, we can overcome all difficulties and challenges that come our way, especially this global health crisis,” he added.
The Palace official hoped that the regional bloc will work together in delivering accurate information to its citizens as it continued to realize the ASEAN Communication Master Plan 2018 – 2025.
“May this cooperation lead to greater intergovernmental and intermedia understanding and engagements within the region, to promote the dissemination of truthful information while ending the proliferation of fake news,” Andanar said. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)