Last week, Manila hosted the 2017 ASEAN gathering, marking its 50th founding anniversary. Ten world leaders across Southeast Asian Nations came together to promote cooperation in the social, economic, political and security pillars of the region.

ASEAN outlines six thematic priorities with the aim to strengthen the social and economic stability of the region.

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A people orientation and people-centred ASEAN
Protecting the rights and well-being of citizens as a priority with a particular focus on the empowerment and social protection of women, elderly and the disabled.

Peace and Stability in the region
Striving to create a cohesive region, working together to keep the peace, co-existence and co-operation among its member states with the focus to create a flourishing, resilient economy.

Maritime security and cooperation
Tackling maritime security disputes with a peaceful resolution along with the protection and preservation of maritime resources.

Inclusive, Innovation-led growth
Providing an opportunity for business growth and improve regional capacity to keep up with the demands of the global economy.

ASEAN’s Resilience
Cultivating a sustainable region that can provide protection against natural disasters and adapt to climate change.

A Global Player
Uniting together to showcase its capabilities and capacities as a global player.

 

What does this mean for the Philippines?

When accepting the chairmanship at last year’s summit, President Duerte announced the theme would be ‘Partnering for change, engaging the world’, with an emphasis on highlighting “ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player, with the interest of the people at its core.”

ASEAN can bring an opportunity for further growth in the Philippines as it continues to drive integration to turn the member countries into one stable economy. One pillar of this is the ASEAN Economic Community which was established in 2015 and hopes to transform the region into a single market with the free flow of goods, services, capital and investment – growing resilience and competing in the global economy.

The ASEAN integration is expected to positively affect the economy of its member countries with the creation of more jobs, increased income and protected trade across the region.

Since the integration in 2015, the Philippines has seen its biggest economic growth, posting a robust 6.8 percent GDP growth rate in 2016, outperforming popular investment spots such as China (6.7 percent) and Vietnam (6.2 percent).

As the fastest growing in Asia, the Philippines' strong and global resilience is expected to continue to grow with infrastructure development. The Philippines is less reliant on exports compared to most Asian countries and consumer spending within the country is on the rise. The BPO sector contributes to the booming economy, along with readmittances from overseas Filipino workers.

With a young and skilled population, ongoing infrastructural development and the reciprocal support from ASEAN, the Philippines will remain a global competitor in the global trade market.

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