The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will head the Socio-Cultural Community, one of the three pillars of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), this year.
The Philippines will be the chairman of the Asean in 2017.
The social welfare department, through Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, aims to help the Asean become more people-oriented and socially-responsible to foster greater solidarity and unity.
“Concretely, what we want is to bring the ASEAN closer to the people, and make it an institution that is responsive to the welfare and social needs of citizens in the Member States, able to provide assistance and guidance when it can in furtherance of advocacies and actions that directly benefit the poor and vulnerable sectors,” Taguiwalo said.
She explained that the Philippines wants to bring to the table issues and concerns that evolve around the necessity to promote and protect the rights of migrant issues. She added that the concerns of vulnerable sectors such as women, children, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, farmers, workers, fisherfolk should be addressed.
“We hope that we can learn from the successful experiences of other Asean Member States when it comes to generating steady livelihood opportunities for their people with the support of the government,” Taguiwalo said.
The Asean summit 2017 will be launched on January 15 at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City. President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his keynote address which will be the main part of the launch.
This year’s Asean theme will be “Partnering for change, engaging the world” with six priorities: People-oriented, people-centered; peace and stability in the region; maritime security; inclusive, innovation led-growth; resilience; and making Asean into a global player and a model of regionalism.