15 January 2017 | DAVAO CITY, Philippines

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – More than 1,000 delegates from all over the country converged at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City to launch the Philippines’ year-long ASEAN Chairmanship in 2017, which also coincides with the regional bloc’s 50th founding anniversary.

As the Philippines officially kicked off its first event as the Chair of ASEAN, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte opened the important gathering with a speech that further discussed the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” The theme reflects the government’s advocacy to promote cooperation among its ASEAN neighbors and the region’s international partners. It is the vision of the Chairmanship for ASEAN to become a dynamic and vibrant partner, so that ASEAN citizens would continue to live in peace, stability, security, and growth while maintaining ASEAN’s centrality, unity, and solidarity for all times.

Two ASEAN Summits will be held this year wherein ASEAN leaders will discuss the political-security, economic, and socio-cultural development of the ASEAN Community.

The 30th ASEAN Summit in April, involving the ten ASEAN Member States, will take place in Metro Manila, while the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November, to be attended by leaders and ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners, will be held at Clark Field, Pampanga. Aside from these two major events, there will be approximately 15 Ministerial Meetings, 30 Senior Officials Meetings, and more than 60 Working Group Meetings.

To celebrate the ASEAN 50th anniversary, there will also be commemorative activities, such as the following:

  • Tribute to the ASEAN Founding Fathers that honors the five founding fathers of ASEAN and ideals of ASEAN
  • ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award to recognize champions of biodiversity conservation and sustainable Management in ASEAN
  • ASEAN Youth Social Entrepreneurship Award where one young social entrepreneur from each member state will be recognized

High-level conferences will also be held to discuss and showcase ASEAN’s achievements over the last 50 years.

The ASEAN 2017 meetings and events will be hosted in different cities in the country: Baguio, Bohol, Boracay, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Clark Field, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Legazpi, Manila, and Palawan. These activities also aim to promote the local tourism in the various destinations.

The Department of Tourism is the main agency in charge of the launch of the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship in Davao of the ASEAN 2017, with the assistance of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in handling the media delegation and the social media lounge. PCOO is also the Chair for the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications (CMASC) of the ASEAN-National Organizing Council and is responsible for ensuring that the public has prompt and timely updates on the ASEAN 2017 Summits, meetings, and events.

Six Thematic Priorities for ASEAN 2017


As Chair of ASEAN, the Philippines will steer the direction of regional bloc this year along six thematic priorities.

These six priorities are the result of consultations and planning workshops with all relevant Philippine government agencies.

The lead agencies of the Philippines for the three pillars of the ASEAN Community are the Department of Foreign Affairs for ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC); the Department of Trade and Industry for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC); and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

These thematic priorities are as follows:

(1) A people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN;

(2) Peace and stability in the region;

(3) Maritime and security cooperation;

(4) Inclusive, innovation-led growth;

(5) Resilient ASEAN

(6) ASEAN: A model of regionalism, global player.

In the coming months, these will comprise the framework that will be the basis of discussions and outcome documents that will help shape and define ASEAN 2017 as ASEAN’s ten Member States continue their journey in the next 50 years of the region.

Realizing ASEAN Vision 2025

During the chairmanship, the Philippines is hopeful that its ASEAN neighbors will share and champion the important issues that will help build on the efforts of previous Summits in realizing ASEAN Vision 2025.

The Philippines will be working hard towards the conclusion of the negotiations for an ASEAN instrument to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers, development of capacities and expansion of opportunities for growth for ASEAN’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

The chairmanship also aims to integrate MSMEs to the fast-growing digital economy by coming out with various action agenda to reduce the cost of doing business, to develop MSMEs to micro-multinationals and to develop an innovation economy among start- ups.

To care more for ASEAN’s most important driver which is human capital, ASEAN produce significant documents on nutrition towards ending all forms of malnutrition to help increase the access to healthcare and improve the nutrition of the peoples of ASEAN.

Mindful of the President’s call for change, the chairmanship is committed to work with fellow ASEAN Member States to realize a Drug-Free ASEAN, improve the region’s resilience to disasters, both natural and man-made, reduce if not totally eradicate poverty, and to address terrorism and violent extremism, among other non-traditional security threats currently confronting our region.

These priorities will be realized throughout the year and will be communicated to the public using various ASEAN 2017 channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The ASEAN 2017 website, www.asean2017.ph, is the comprehensive and updated resource site of data. Individuals can access information about the ASEAN 2017 including the ASEAN Community’s outputs, outcome documents, statements, speeches, and other important information. XXX

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