MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday emphasized the importance of promoting and protecting the Philippines’ interests during his participation in the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia on May 10-12 in Labuan Baju, Indonesia.
In his pre-departure speech delivered at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Marcos said he would discuss with his fellow ASEAN leaders several issues, including efforts to sustain economic prosperity, attain food and energy security, boost trade and investments, address transnational crimes and protect distressed migrant workers.
“I will join other Leaders of ASEAN to advance our community-building efforts in the region and ensure the well-being and security of our people, in line with Indonesia’s chairmanship theme of ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’,” Marcos said.
“My participation will serve to promote and protect the interests of our country, including our continued efforts towards economic growth, attaining food and energy security, promoting trade and investment, combatting transnational crimes such as the trafficking in persons, and protecting migrant workers in crisis situations, amongst others,” he added.
Marcos said he and his fellow Southeast Asian leaders would also exchange views on “pressing issues of common concerns” such as developments in the West Philippine Sea, the situation in Myanmar and major power rivalries.
Marcos expressed confidence that he would have “productive engagements” with nine other ASEAN leaders, noting that the 10 member-states of the regional bloc have a “very clear area of commonality,” especially when it comes to their aspiration for sustained economic growth.
“And as the theme of this ASEAN Summit is clearly manifesting, it is once again towards economic growth,” he said, stressing that the Southeast Asian region has been viewed by non-ASEAN members like China, the United States and the European Union as “growth center for the global economy.”
“And that is why it is very important that we go and continue to discuss amongst other ASEAN leaders of all the member-states on how we can maximize and find that extra energy, that synergy from our working together,” Marcos added.
Marcos will also attend the 15th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit.
He would also participate in a series of interfaces of the Southeast Asian leaders with the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and representatives from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), ASEAN Youth, and the High-Level Task Force on the ASEAN Community Post-2025 Vision.
“In these meetings, we will have the opportunity to highlight the importance of strengthening cooperation in the BIMP-EAGA subregion to sustain its thriving economy, the strong partnership between the executive and legislative bodies of ASEAN, the pivotal role of private sector and the youth in advancing growth and shaping the future as well as the future direction of the ASEAN Vision,” Marcos said.
Marcos also hoped to hold a bilateral meeting with the leaders of Timor-Leste to discuss their prospective membership in ASEAN.
Timor-Leste Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak is expected to attend the 42nd ASEAN Summit as an observer for the first time.
Following the admission of Timor-Leste’s application to be the 11th ASEAN member in 2022, the 10 Southeast Asian leaders are expected to adopt a roadmap on its full membership during this year’s summit.
The ASEAN Summit provides a platform for Southeast Asian leaders to discuss and exchange views on key regional issues, as well as build consensus on matters of mutual interest and provide policy directions on ASEAN community-building efforts.
The Southeast Asian leaders are expected to discuss ways to maintain internal peace in the region amid rising geopolitical issues in the Indo-Pacific region, while strengthening the regional bloc in becoming a fast-growing, inclusive and sustainable economic region.
The 42nd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits are expected to produce around 16 outcome documents. (PNA)