In message for ASEAN’s 53rd anniversary, President Duterte calls for cooperation amid COVID-19 pandemic

President Rodrigo Duterte called for cooperation among ASEAN member-states amid the COVID-19 pandemic in his message on the 53rd founding anniversary of the regional bloc./PCOO/

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, Aug. 8, called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to work together in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his message for the 53rd founding anniversary of the regional bloc, the President said that while “bouncing back from the pandemic appears to be a daunting task,” if “pursued with friends the burden is shared and transformed into an opportunity to create a more resilient Southeast Asian region.”

“With a deeper sense of common purpose, we will continue to work together as one ASEAN and strengthen partnerships with friends within and outside the region,” the President said, as he traced the origins of ASEAN in 1967, when the founding members, including the Philippines, “committed to bind themselves in friendship and cooperation in order to secure for their peoples enduring peace, freedom and  prosperity.”

More than five decades later, the President said “as a force for peace and prosperity in the region,  ASEAN has had indeed unparalleled success” as the fifth largest economy in the world,” and as it is “moving closer to becoming one politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible community.”

“We are confident that the ASEAN way of partnership and mutual aid will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with our community-building endeavors,” the President said.