MANILA, -- Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Monday backed the priorities of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to promote regional peace and stability and pursue maritime security as the Philippines assumed this year's chairmanship of ASEAN this year.
"These are key issues that the ASEAN must continually strive to maintain. He has articulated what the ASEAN could do to its citizens in this time of great change. It is to ensure stability and security, which will enhance opportunities of its citizens for a better life," Pimentel said.
Pimentel pointed out that the leadership of both chambers of Congress has already identified priority measures aimed at improving people's lives and enhancing Philippine role in the ASEAN.
Among the non-controversial bills are the provisions of free tuition in state universities and colleges, free irrigation for farmers, universal health insurance coverage and nutritious meals for students in public elementary schools.
"The regional bloc is focused on growth and centered on ASEAN citizens. Nothing could be more important to the ASEAN in a region that is the most economically dynamic in the world," Pimentel said.
ASEAN turns 50 this year, coinciding with the Philippine chairmanship of the alliance months after Duterte announced that he would chart an independent foreign policy. The country plays host to the ASEAN Summit late this year.
Its theme, "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World," perfectly highlights the Philippines' enhanced role in the region, Pimentel said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency