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With all eyes set on the regional summit in the country this year, Malacañang has called on Filipinos not only to show world renowned hospitality but also discipline to their visiting Asian neighbors.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the public could help the government in ensuring a smooth and orderly Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit by following simple traffic rules.
“Napakalaking opportunity ito para sa bansa natin na i-showcase ang kagandahan ng ating bansa sa buong mundo – kung gaano ka-orderly, gaano ka-disiplinado para maipakita natin sa kanila kung bakit malakas ang ating ekonomiya – seven percent – para mas marami pa tayong mahikayat na mga negosyante para mag-invest dito,” Andanar said over government radio.
“Ang panawagan ko sa mga Pilipino lalo na iyong nasa Metro Manila kung saan gaganapin itong ASEAN is that we also have to help government by showing everyone that we follow the law,” he added.
The Philippines serves as this year’s chairman of the ASEAN, a regional bloc established in 1967 to promote economic, political, and security cooperation.
The regional summit, with the theme “We Are Partners for Change, Engaging the World,” will be formally launched on January 15 in Davao City.
Andanar said the 30th ASEAN Summit will be held on April, followed by the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and related meetings coinciding with ASEAN’s 50th anniversary celebration in Metro Manila this August.
In November, the 31st ASEAN Summit will be held in Clark, Pampanga.
The PCOO led by Andanar is spearheading a massive campaign to raise public awareness about the benefits of ASEAN. The information drive includes the conduct of road shows and seminars as well as distribution of materials such as comics about ASEAN.
Andanar said this year’s ASEAN priorities are ensuring health and protection of people, especially women, disabled, and migrant workers; peace and stability; maritime security and cooperation; promotion of micro small and medium enterprises; disaster resiliency; and stronger and united ASEAN.
“It is the vision of PCOO that every Filipino will know how ASEAN has benefitted them. We created a campaign that speaks to everyone from all walks of life, from government workers, media, NGOs, civil society, the academe, business sector, the youth, and even the grassroots communities,” he said.
The Southeast Asian region is composed of 630 million people with an economy valued at $2.5 trillion.
(Genalyn D. Kabiling)