Davao City is gearing up for the launching of the first meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the country assumes chairmanship this year.
The city has been preparing for the ASEAN meeting which will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang on January 15.
Assistant City Administrator for Administration Tristan Dwight Domingo said the city has gathered volunteers to work "behind the scene" of the ASEAN Summit here.
Although the city's role will be minimal, Domingo said authorities are working hard to help the National Organizing Committee for the ASEAN Summit.
"Our preparation is only minimal since the National Organizing Committee is in charge of it, but in the past months, we already started our preparation by identifying the people who will work on that day," he said.
Domingo said they have asked several schools to send students who are willing to volunteer as usherettes during the event.
"We have identified 70 usherettes who will work voluntarily. It will be pure volunteerism since the city will not be handing them allowance for the event," he said, adding that 30 city hall employees will be assisting foreign leaders during their stay here.
Domingo said the people have been training for the event.
"The city also helps in the preparation of the airport, we will be putting up designs or help in the maintenance and cleanliness of the airport for the visitors. Streamers will also be put up in different parts of the city next week," he said.
While Domingo is clueless on the schedules of the foreign leaders, he said they are prepared to tour them around the city's must-see sites.
This year marks the Philippines' assumption as chair of the ASEAN with President Rodrigo Duterte taking the helm of the country's leadership.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the launch this year will help raise awareness regarding the country's summit hosting and its benefits.
The ASEAN 2017 is also significant because it coincides with its 50th year anniversary.
Andanar said the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) will be the lead committee on media affairs and communications to spread awareness and educate the public about the ASEAN.
Andanar noted that while 81 percent of ASEAN citizens have heard of the regional grouping, only 24 percent have a basic understanding of what it is and its purpose.
To heighten awareness, PCO will roll out roadshows nationwide.
Andanar said representatives from PCO will deliver talks, conduct seminars and distribute reading materials written in different Philippine dialects.
Among the ASEAN 2017's priorities include people-oriented and people-centered initiatives, peace and stability, maritime security and cooperation, inclusive and innovative-led growth, ASEAN resiliency and ASEAN as model of regionalism.
The ASEAN 2017 theme for this year is, "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World."
Source: Philippines News Agency