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President Duterte highlights regional inclusivity in ASEAN leadership forum

PASAY CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte attended on Friday, April 28, the 14th ASEAN Leadership Forum highlighting the importance of inclusivity in uplifting the lives of the people in the region.
The 14th ASEAN Leadership Forum has the theme, “Advancing Partnerships, Prospering Together in a New World Economy.”
In his speech at the gathering held at the Manila Hotel, President Duterte thanked the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) for inviting him to join the event.
Saying ASLI played a crucial role in bringing together different sectors, he said ASLI’s efforts have gone a long way in forging inclusivity in the ASEAN’s journey towards cohesiveness and economic and social integration.
Duterte added that as ASEAN members continue to work together in shaping positive changes, they must also pursue greater international engagement to advance common interests.
These include innovative economic growth, preservation of heritage and culture, pursuit of the stability and security against threats of terrorism, violent extremism and criminality such as the illegal drug trade.
“This is what we mean by people-centered, people-oriented ASEAN,” the President said.
“Still, it is not enough that we work for the realization of these common aspirations,” he said.
The President noted that it is also important that people understand ASEAN and its contribution in improving their lives
He said there is a need to cultivate the people’s sense of ownership by putting ASEAN in their consciousness, and let them feel that they are a part of efforts to achieve common aspirations.
“This way, we can truly turn ASEAN into an effective model for regional integration,” he added.
Duterte said he is pleased to see that people in government and in the private sector are working together to achieve regional inclusivity.
“Let us ensure that our ASEAN narrative remains strong and that the lessons we learned and the values we hold dear as a community are told in full and said with resonance,” he said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.