The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has prepared several activities that would make more people aware and have basic understanding of the fast growing Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) region.
During Thursday's kick-off press briefing of the ASEAN 2017 at the Malacanang Palace, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said only 81 percent of the 630 million people of the ASEAN have heard about the ASEAN but "only 24 percent have a basic understanding of what it is and its purpose"
"This is alarming because every citizen benefits from this regional organization. The role of the PCOO as the lead of the committee on media affairs and communications is to spread awareness and educate the public about the ASEAN," Andanar said.
As host of the ASEAN 2017, Andanar said the Philippines will conduct roadshows all throughout the year by travelling to different barangays all over the country.
Andanar said the ASEAN representatives from the PCOO will deliver talks, conduct seminars and even distribute comics and other reading materials written in different Philippine dialects.
"It is the vision of PCOO that every Filipino will know how ASEAN has benefited them. We created a campaign that speaks to everyone from all walks of life, from government workers, media, NGOs, civil society, the academe, business sector, the youth, and even the grassroots communities," Andanar said.
"This way no one is left behind and we reach those without access to the Internet or traditional media," he added.
The promotion campaign will focus on six thematic priorities that include a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN; peace and stability; maritime security and cooperation; inclusive innovation and growth; ASEAN's resiliency; and ASEAN as model of regionalism and a global player.
President Duerte formally accepted the ASEAN chairmanship in September last year when he attended the ASEAN Summit in Laos.
Andanar said the ASEAN 2017 will be officially launched on January 15 at the Davao SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
Since its inception in 1967, ASEAN has grown to 10 member-nations namely the Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The ASEAN region is composed of 630 million people with a diverse number of ethnicities, religions and languages and with more than 1.7 million square miles area and an economy valued at USD2.5 trillion.
The Philippines' chairmanship of the ASEAN coincides with the region's 50th year anniversary with a theme: "We Are Partners for Change Engaging the World."
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Enrique Manalo said the Philippines as one of the founding ASEAN members has always been at the forefront of pushing for what is the best for the region and its peoples.
"ASEAN has been performing this function incredibly owing to years of success in espousing cooperation and cultivating peace and stability through the ASEAN way its peaceful and non-confrontational approach in resolving differences," Manalo, who joined Andanar during the ASEAN 2017's kickoff media briefing, said.
Manalo said the Philippines, as host, will be hosting around a hundred meetings, including two Leaders' level summits in April and November, spread throughout select cities and regions of the country.
"This milestone event is an occasion for ASEAN to reflect on its success and achievements during the last 50 years and to prepare for the new challenges ahead in our region," Manalo said.
He agreed with Andanar that the Philippines as host of the ASEAN 2017 should aim for a positive change in the lives of the region's citizens through initiatives that significantly impact on their lives.
"We envision ASEAN's greater international engagement to advance our common interests," Manalo said.
The DFA official said ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh conducted a working visit to the Philippines last December.
Source: Philippines News Agency