President Rodrigo Duterte led the official launch of the ASEAN 2017 Summit at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
The Philippines officially assumed its role as host of the 10-member regional organization, with President Rodrigo Duterte as the ASEAN 2017 chairman.
Mall-goers and shoppers were surprised by the music and dancing which livened the event. They were even more surprised by the presence of distinguished members of the Cabinet and diplomatic corps.
Former president Fidel V. Ramos, and now currently serving as Representative of Pampanga, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also graced the event.
The theme for this year’s summit is “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, which became the highlight of the president’s keynote speech.
President Duterte also swore that the Philippines is committed to establish a stronger and resilient ASEAN Community. He also urged the Filipino people to take an active part to make the 2017 ASEAN Summit a success, citing that now is a crucial time to mobilize the Filipinos’ spirit of ‘bayanihan’ as the leader of ASEAN 2017.
“This is a tremendous task, but one that is not unachievable. Indeed, as chair, the Philippines has important leadership to play. But we’ll recognize the success is defined by the collective work of our nation and the ASEAN’s entire membership.” – President Rodrigo Duterte
The Philippine government also unveiled a commemorative coin and stamp during the launch of the summit in order to celebrate both the Philippines’ chairmanship and the ASEAN’s 50th anniversary.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Office of ASEAN Affairs, there will be more than 100 meetings to be held in the Philippines for this year’s ASEAN Summit. Heads of states of the 10 ASEAN member-nations and dialogue partners will grace two of these meetings.
There will also be 15 ministerial meetings, 31 senior official meetings and more than 60 working group meetings all over the country.
The scheduled ASEAN meetings for this year will be held in Metro Manila, Laoag, Pampanga, Legazpi, Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Bohol, Cagayan De Oro, and Davao.