MANILA — The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN 2017 can be considered a tremendous success.
This was emphasized by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez’s message, read by DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, during the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits Tuesday.
“Our main goal as Chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) in the past year has been to ensure that those at the bottom of the pyramid can participate in trade through the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” he added.
“We are committed in having ASEAN’s economic growth through deeper regional integration become inclusive via efforts in complementation, cooperation, and collaboration where everyone emerges as winners,” Lopez added.
The DTI chief stressed the Philippines has been promoting this view in other fora, including the recent APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam wherein the country called on the old view of how competition and economic growth always generates winners and losers should be discarded.
“That’s why we consider the Philippines 2017 ASEAN Chairmanship a tremendous success as it was achieved through the concerted efforts of the 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS) and continuous open dialogue and cooperation with external partners. This becomes all the more meaningful as our Chairmanship year coincides with ASEAN’s 50th founding anniversary,” he added.
Lopez added that Philippine chairmanship is guided by the overall banner theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, under which six thematic priorities had been pursued, namely:
(a) A people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN;
(b) Peace and stability in the region;
(c) Maritime security and cooperation;
(d) Inclusive, innovation-led Growth;
(e) ASEAN’s resiliency;
(f) and ASEAN: A model of regionalism, a global player.
Under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the DTI chief bared that the Philippines focused on and pushed for initiatives that lead to the promotion of an inclusive and innovative region that ASEAN citizens could confidently and proudly call home.
He added AEC’s priority for this year magnifies the imperative for the gains presented by the on-going economic integration to be fully realized and shared by everyone towards region-wide prosperity.
“This acknowledges the socio-economic dimension of regional economic integration and its contribution to poverty alleviation through advances in trade facilitation, trade in services, connectivity, inclusive business, e-commerce, and innovation,” the DTI chief pointed out.
Lopez said this would ensure the participation of the MSME and marginalized sectors such as women and youth in commercial activities. (with reports from Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)