Philippine president appeals for passage of ASEAN Charter

The Asean Charter, which was signed by all 10 Asean countries last November, does not come into effect until all 10 member countries have ratified it.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is appealing to the Philippine Congress to ratify the Charter. She also said, Asean “must accept its responsibility to advance the cause of economic and social justice within its membership.”

Some congressmen have argued that the Philippines should hold back ratification until the Myanmar government demonstrates concrete steps to restore democracy.

Xinhua
13 June 2008

Philippine president appeals for passage of ASEAN Charter

MANILA, June 13 (Xinhua) — Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is appealing for the passage of ASEAN Charter for further economic integration within the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Philippine government said in a statement on Friday.

Economic integration within the Association of South East Asian Nations is imperative to face the challenges of globalization, Arroyo said during an Independence Day reception Thursday in the presidential palace.

“Certainly, economic integration among Asian nations is imperative if we, as a region, are to take advantage of the expanding global trade and economic opportunities,” the president said, cited by the statement posted on the government’s website.

Arroyo said strong global engagement and the establishment of an ASEAN Charter would “certainly” open more opportunities for its member countries.

“We are thrilled at the prospect of a vibrant ASEAN. We hold great hope for the ASEAN Charter which will be the first and the boldest step towards the creation of a regional economic community,” she said.

During its chairmanship, the Philippines pushed for the establishment of an ASEAN Charter to create a single regional community by 2015 that was eventually signed by the ASEAN leaders in Singapore and is now up for ratification by member countries, the statement said.

“As for the passage of the ASEAN Charter, we would love nothing more than to see ASEAN consolidate its gains and move closer together. However, we’ll leave this up to the Philippine Senate which has been asked to review the charter for ratification,” said the president.

“As a responsible member of the international community,” the president said ASEAN members including the Philippines are presently united in helping its needy neighbors in the region.

“We are doing our part to create a world that is more humane. We have reached out in sympathy to our Chinese brethren in Sichuan Province. Likewise, we have sent medical teams and continue to make those teams available to help the people of Myanmar,” she said.

The president said the Philippines is also coordinating with ASEAN neighbors in sending financial aid to Myanmar.

“Now that ASEAN has taken tangible steps to be a true union, it must accept its responsibility to advance the cause of economic and social justice within its membership,” she said.

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