Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte unveiled the ASEAN theme for 2017 as he accepted the gavel symbolizing the handing over of ASEAN chairmanship to the Philippines from Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the conclusion of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and other related summits at the National Convention Center last September 8, 2016 in Vientiane, Laos.
“The Philippines is ready and willing to steer and guide the association. But crucial to the realization of our goals is the cooperation and support of all ASEAN member-states and our dialogue partners.” Pres. Duterte said in his acceptance speech.
The theme for ASEAN 2017 will be “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”. 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the 10-member regional bloc.
Pres. Duterte said the theme reflects the aspiration to consolidate ASEAN and enable it to take its rightful place in the international community. He cited in his speech the intention to pursue regional initiatives and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security and growth while retaining ASEAN’s centrality, unity and solidarity. Likewise, during the Philippines’ chairmanship, the ASEAN will be highlighted as a model of people-centric regionalism.