20 January 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said that as the lead shepherd for the Philippine agencies under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), DSWD will, among others, promote the rights of the vulnerable sectors in the upcoming Summits of the regional bloc during this year’s ASEAN Chairmanship by the Philippines.

“We want to make the ASEAN more relevant to the lives of the poor and ordinary citizens by highlighting issues that concern them, with the end goal of upholding their welfare and improving their quality of life,” said DSWD Secretary Taguiwalo.

Given this role of synergizing the country’s action plans in social development this Chairmanship year, DSWD takes on the challenge of steering the region towards making the ASEAN a more people-oriented, people-centered institution.


Socio-cultural priorities

With the overarching theme, “Partnering for change, Engaging the world,” the Duterte administration crafted six (6) thematic priorities to address the various needs of the Community and to further spark meaningful change across all ASEAN Pillars.

Among the six, DSWD is responsible in advancing two priorities.

DSWD aims to enhance efforts towards a “People-oriented, people-centered ASEAN.” In line with this, the Philippines intends to:

  • Ensure promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers;
  • Ensure promotion and protection of the rights of the vulnerable sectors – women, children, persons with disabilities, and the elderly;
  • Further promote appreciation of cultural heritage and strengthening the ASEAN cultural identity;
  • Improve access to healthcare and nutrition; and
  • Promote the role of the civil service as a catalyst for achieving ASEAN Vision of 2025.

The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, which the Department oversees, also looks into preparing the individual ASEAN Member States and the region against disasters and the alarming effects of climate change. For the Community to become a “Resilient ASEAN,” following will be areas of focus this year:

  • Further ensure environmental protection;
  • Carry out climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and mitigation-related activities; and
  • Intensify protection of our biodiversity, thru programs, projects and activities of our ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity.

ASCC launch in Pampanga

Following the ASEAN 2017 Official Launch in Davao City, the Philippines will formally launch its Chairmanship of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar on January 24 at the Marquee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga. Main guests of the launch are representatives from key sectors as it is the committee’s goal to bring ASEAN closer to the people.

Around 1,000 participants from local government units and the media are expected to attend the said launch.

“Staging this event aims to highlight the contributions of the ASCC in realizing the goals of the Association and to generate wider awareness on ASEAN activities and programs,” Taguiwalo said.

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