Commentary: RP benefits from ASEAN thru PGMA leadership
By Jessie R. Valdez
San Fernando City, La Union (15 January) -- Faced with mounting security threats, the 12th ASEAN Summit is going on smoothly at the Cebu International Convention Center with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo leading the meeting of the 10-member ASEAN leaders.
The meeting is an opportunity for the world to witness the best of a sharing and caring community carving out a united response in addressing problems of poverty, terrorism, environmental degradation, trade and energy-marking a vibrant market and a new phase of trade and development across borders.
Hosting the Summit is a landmark year for Philippine diplomacy for we start the year hosting a prestigious international association. It will also show Filipino cooperation and unity and highlights the leadership of the Philippines as the Government is working relentlessly to pursue a brighter national future based on a genuine community of caring and sharing Southeast and East Asian countries.
In her meetings with the ASEAN heads, President Arroyo has rallied their support for an increased trade in Asian region especially between China, Japan and South Korea with an ultimate aim of reducing the incidence of poverty thru free trade. Another important issue that the President had pushed were programs on peace and security, disaster relief and disease prevention.
Filipinos are very proud because the ASEAN Ministers approved the proposal of PGMA for a stand-alone statement that reaffirms ASEAN's commitment to attaining an ambitious and balanced overall outcome of the Doha Development Round.
Since the founding of ASEAN, 39 years ago, the Philippines has actively participated, and even initiated cooperative efforts in the fight against terrorism, energy sharing, tourism promotion, human resource development, poverty eradication and protection of migrant workers.
Over the years, Philippines and the Filipino people have also benefited from ASEAN objectives -- has supported the country on vital national security questions, territorial dispute in the South China Sea, extended crucial assistance for the peace process in Mindanao, and PGMA is constantly working for a new, more modern Philippines and to eliminate poverty and improve the quality of life of every Filipino. Thru her hard work in international community, she has generated investments & jobs, strengthened our security in the fight against terrorism and improved social justice care for our overseas workers, among others.
As the ASEAN Summit ends tomorrow, this historical event was highlighted with the signing of agreements from the different heads of state. Already, an agreement expanding air linkages among the key cities in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and East ASEAN Growth Area, a plan to transform the region into a free trade zone by 2015, a blueprint to transform the regional bloc into a European Union-style entity with binding rules, declaration and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, roadmap for creating a "community and caring societies", commitment to address HIV & AIDS and many others.
With the 4-day ASEAN Summit, we hope that the ASEAN leaders will produce results worthy of our great expectations and may the future looks brighter for the region under the collective stewardship of committed leaders reaching out to each other in the spirit of friendship and common purpose. We also hope they had a pleasant and a memorable stay in the Philippines. (PIA La Union) [top]