President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 9 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be able to win its fight against Covid-19 just as it hurdled various challenges in the past.

Duterte made the remark as ASEAN commemorates its 54th founding anniversary.

ASEAN member states, he said, are “no stranger to difficult times”, noting that their bonds of amity and solidarity have always pulled the regional bloc through.

“Notwithstanding the difficulties we face as the Covid-19 pandemic enters its second year, I am confident that ASEAN will prevail as it has done so many times in the past,” he said in an official statement on Sunday night.

H’/e said he had no doubts that ASEAN member states would be able to overcome the problems they are currently facing.

“ASEAN will continue to rise to present challenges and lead the region with renewed sense of purpose and an even firmer commitment to the ideals of peace, freedom, and prosperity,” he added.

He emphasized the importance of working hand in hand to reach their shared goals.

“As we celebrate our collective achievements and reflect on how far we have come as one community, may we always remember and value how much stronger we are together than on our own,” he said.

Duterte also recognized ASEAN as Southeast Asia’s “preeminent regional organization” and “one of the world’s most successful institutions.”

“The creation of ASEAN in 1967, in a period of great power rivalry and tensions, was indeed a bold, visionary step towards enduring peace and shared prosperity for the region,” he said.

ASEAN, he added, has gone a long way from when it was first created in 1967.

“With more than five decades of community building, ASEAN has gone from strength to strength as the friendship and cooperation among its members deepened,” he said.

He described ASEAN as an “indispensable institution” for the promotion and preservation of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Citing its considerable market and dynamic workforce, he said ASEAN is also an “important economic hub” contributing to global growth and development.

Composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, ASEAN was established on Aug. 8, 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.

It was later referred to as the ASEAN Declaration by the five founding members – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. (MNS)

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