PH-Hosted ASEAN Meetings Run Like ‘Clockwork; Noel Puyat Says

(The Philippines is honored to be the Chair of ASEAN, during a very important milestone, the celebration of its 50th anniversary. I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the Philippines’ ASEAN National Organizing Council. Their competence and diligence have made Philippine-hosted ASEAN meetings and gatherings this year run like clockwork.)

(L-R) Lao PDR - Thonglor Duangsavanh, Director General of Lao Press in Foreign Languages, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism; Malaysia - Joanne Yoke Ann Koo, Assistant Secretary, International Division, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia; Myanmar - Win Kyi, Deputy Director General, Myanmar Radio and Television; Thailand - Charoon Chaison, Deputy Director-General, The Government Public Relations Department; Viet Nam - Nguyen Thi Hang, Official, Department of International Cooperation; Philippines - Noel George Puyat, SOMRI Chair, Undersecretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office; Singapore -Tan Li San, Deputy Secretary (Industry & Info), Ministry of Communications and Information; Brunei Darussalam - Haji Mohammad Mawardi, Deputy Director of Information, Department of Information; Cambodia - Has Sam Ath, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Information; Indonesia - Rosarita Niken Widiastuti, Director General of Information and Public Communications, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia; ASEAN Secretariat - Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.*

For the 15th Meeting of the SOMRI, we have the pleasure to be hosted in Bacolod, known in our country as the City of Smiles. Everyone, especially the local government, has been generous and accommodating and for that we are very grateful. In Ilonggo, the local language, we say masadya diri, which means it’s fun here.

In our country, there are more than 100 languages spoken throughout the 18 regions but somehow we find ways to understand each other as Filipinos. In the same way, what is unique about ASEAN as a regional bloc is that we are composed of ten nations; all of which have diverse languages, traditions and cultures, yet we endeavor to understand and support each other. ASEAN is a special community because it is these differences that enrich us. However, there is still a lot to do as we aspire to be a more cohesive region.

As we strive to achieve the ASEAN Vision 2025, the main objective of our meetings is to find ways to effectively communicate and promote ASEAN’s meaning and identity; so that our citizens not only gain awareness of our organization but become inspired to participate and support the Community to build an ASEAN that is truly people-centered.

The three ASEAN Community Pillars have been hard at work in developing and implementing projects that directly benefit our citizens. However, the challenge is not only in activating these significant undertakings, but in also making sure that the people are aware of their stake in it. We need to gain the public’s attention and more importantly, their commitment.

The ASEAN Strategic Plan for Information and Media for 2016-2025, adopted in March 2016, identifies the key strategies that would guide the ASEAN Member States’ cooperation in this field. It is a ten-year plan that will serve as a map for the development and cooperation of the information and media sector in the region towards supporting other community pillars with their communication needs; advocating the policies and initiatives implemented by ASEAN and communication with our peoples through different platforms and channels.

In the ASEAN Political-Security Community, our communication support can be directed towards the campaign for peace and stability, which include the suppression of transnational crimes, understanding and preventing cyber crimes and cyber terrorism. Maritime security is an issue that affects us immensely and we need our citizens to rally behind ASEAN as we affirm the need for a rules-based approach in the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with recognized principles of international law.

Under the Economic Pillar, there are many avenues for knowledge-sharing, in terms of technology and innovation, and the promotion of the micro, small and medium enterprises.

For the Socio-Cultural Community, our campaign is geared towards inspiring our citizens to be stewards of the environment and to live sustainably. It is through this pillar that we can create a community that is nurturing and enriching, so that there will be no room for illegal drugs to proliferate.

We want to be ambitious yet realistic because as with all visionary efforts, it is the implementation that matters in the end. We shall consider a monitoring and evaluation framework, which is important in tracking the progress and development of our communication objectives.

We will also get updates on the outcomes of the working group meetings, namely the working group on the: (1) ASEAN Digital Broadcasting; (2) Content and Production; (3) and Information, Media and Training.

We also echo the call for a stronger regional identity in-line with the Association’s objective of conserving and preserving cultural heritage, promoting cultural creativity and industries and engaging with the community.

We are grateful for the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information in their dedication to raise awareness of ASEAN throughout the years. It is with urgency that we continue with these efforts as we try to adapt through the rapidly changing media and infocomm landscape and we race to seize the opportunities brought about by the advances in technologies; most especially in the digital landscape.

There has been extraordinary progress between ASEAN and its cooperation with Dialogue Partners and other stakeholders, on the promotion of ASEAN awareness in creating a sense of belonging, consolidating unity in diversity, as well as enhancing deeper mutual understanding among ASEAN Member States (AMS) on their culture, history, religion, and civilization.

In the agenda, we will also determine how to further boost knowledge sharing and capacity building for information and media organizations among the AMS and with our Dialogue Partners. There are still so many things we can do under the Plus Three mechanism.

As we move towards the vision of 2025, our communication support should be intensified towards a more integrated ASEAN. We should be able to enlist the help of the private sector as partners in creating, and disseminating ASEAN content to reach the widest and farthest audiences who have stakes in the development and goals of ASEAN.

The Philippines, as the Chair of ASEAN 2017, will host a grand commemorative celebration of [email protected] on August 8 and the SOMRI is urged to boost the campaign promotion for this milestone and use the momentum of this festivity to generate awareness of the ASEAN Community.

Today, we can contribute to creating the ASEAN sense of belonging, of understanding cultures and histories; of overcoming the borders in religions and languages. We will prove to the world, time and again, that in ASEAN, there is much unity to be found in diversity.*


Negros Occidental :