VP Sara cites youth’s role in promoting ASEAN growth agenda

Published August 8, 2022, 11:40 AM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Sara Duterte underscored the importance of the youth in strengthening the links among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states as she called on fellow leaders to encourage learning each other’s national languages for better collaboration.

Vice President Sara Duterte (Photo from DepEd)

Duterte, who serves as Education secretary in a concurrent capacity, delivered a speech for the 55th founding anniversary of ASEAN on Monday, Aug. 8.

“I believe that for ASEAN to be able to successfully pursue its regional agenda, the ASEAN to be able to maintain its strong presence in the world, we should seriously invest in our youth,” Duterte said.

“As we endeavor to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, our challenge is to figure out how to ensure that all of ASEAN will reach its potential by 2030. Your excellencies, I believe that we should focus on the ASEAN youth,” she added.

Duterte was joined by ASEAN leaders and representatives of its members during the event at the Department of Education (DepEd) central office in Pasig City.

Though the Philippines sends English language teachers to neighboring countries for years, the Vice President believes ASEAN languages should be offered in schools and universities.

VP Sara Duterte and ASEAN leaders and members link arms during the 55th anniversary celebration of the ASEAN at the DepEd central office in Pasig City on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (Inday Sara Duterte/Facebook)

“I believe it is high time we encourage our youth to learn each other’s national languages. With a collaborative and nurturing environment within our region, we allow our youth to grow and mature as ASEAN citizens while forging meaningful friendships and relationships with their ASEAN neighbors,” she said.

ASEAN has more than 600 million people in population, majority of which is composed by the youth.

The regional bloc’s population bigger than the European Union or North America, and is the third-largest labor force in the world, just behind China and India.

But for the youth to take its role in the ASEAN, Duterte highlighted the importance of ensuring quality education and nationalism.

“One of the ways to involve the ASEAN youth is to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skill set needed in a highly competitive environment,” she said.

“By strengthening intraregional scholarships and cultural exchanges between our countries,” Duterte stressed that there will be an increase in “the free flow of ideas, innovations, and skills.”

“Each of our countries has unique strengths. But our diversity is our strength. To help each other, we must develop our human capital and workforce by jointly developing the skills that our youth may capitalize on in the future,” she furthered.