By Leilani S. Junio
8 March 2017 | ILOILO CITY

ASCC Ministers with DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh at the 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Council Meeting, March 8, Iloilo City

As the 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Council (ASCC) Meeting officially opened here Wednesday, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said they are expecting six outcome documents from the inputs of meetings for the ASEAN 2017.

In a press briefing held at the Iloilo Convention Center, Taguiwalo said that of the six outcome documents, there will be two key documents that will hopefully “come to frution in time for the 30th ASEAN Summit to be held late April”.

These are the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Role of Civil Service as Catalysts for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and the ASEAN Declaration for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

“We will discuss the two key outcome documents under the priority ‘a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN’ that we intend to endorse to the ASEAN Leaders,” said Taguiwalo.

She added that the four other outcome documents that they will elevate during the meeting are the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals; ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition; ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration of Commitment on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR): Combatting AMR through the One Health Approach; and ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Youth Development.

“As you may note, these documents are intended to influence policy and program development in ASEAN Member States. These are aligned with the ASCC Blueprint 2025,” she said.

The Philippines chairs ASEAN this year as the regional grouping celebrates its 50th anniversary since it was established on August 1967.

The ASEAN Community consists of three pillars — ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

The ASCC, which the DSWD chairs this year, aims to contribute in realizing an ASEAN Community that is people-oriented and socially responsible, to achieve enduring solidarity and unity among the peoples and Member States of ASEAN. It also seeks to forge a common identity and build a caring and sharing society that is inclusive and where the well-being, livelihood, and welfare of the peoples are enhanced.

The ASCC is focused on nurturing the human, cultural, and natural resources for sustained development in a harmonious and people-oriented ASEAN.
The characteristics envisaged in the ASCC Blueprint are human development; social welfare and protection; social justice and rights; ensuring environmental sustainability; building the ASEAN identity; and narrowing the development gap.

“The meeting presents a significant opportunity for the country to lead and actively advocate ASCC priorities that contribute to the realization of the ASEAN Vision 2025,” she said as she declared the 17th ASCC Council Meeting open.

She added that the meeting reflects the country’s priorities under the present administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte through investment in human capital development, improving the health and education systems, and improving the social protection program for the poor and marginalized.

Also present during the event was ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh.

ASEAN, which groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, was established to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.

The Philippines is hosting the chairmanship of the ASEAN for the third time. The country also hosted the summit in 2007 and 1987.

The theme for this year is “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, wherein ASEAN is being highlighted as a model of regionalism and global player, with the interest of its peoples at its core. (PNA)

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