Philippines' Ambassador to Vietnam Jerril G. Santos (Photo: VNA)


Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines will continue to ensure the effectiveness of its participation in ASEAN-led activities, the country’s Ambassador to Vietnam Jerril G. Santos told the Vietnam News Agency in a recent interview.

“The Philippines recognizes that while the ASEAN Community has already been established, there is the shared recognition among Member States that the community­ building process shall continue,” the Ambassador said.

He noted that most of the targets have been fulfilled by ASEAN but a few measures under the blueprints for the APSC, AEC and ASCC still need to be fulfilled during the remainder of 2015 or in 2016.

According to the diplomat, the recent adoption of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025 at the second ASEAN Summit in November 2015 marks the next phase of community-building by setting the goals that ASEAN needs to achieve in the next 10 years.

“Achieving these goals is intended to lead to a politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible community,” he said.

Ambassador Jerril G. Santos said in recent years, the Philippines has utilized its own national coordinating mechanism, namely the Philippine Council on Regional Cooperation (PCRC), to ensure proper coordination among government agencies in ASEAN-related policy development and the implementation of projects that have ASEAN-wide application.

“Given the impetus for driving the agenda of ASEAN 2025, the Philippines shall continue using this mechanism and other internal arrangements to ensure the continued effectiveness of Philippine participation in ASEAN-led activities and in contributing to this new phase of community-building,” he said.

The ambassador affirmed that as a founding member of ASEAN, active participation in the ASEAN system has always been at the forefront of the Philippine’s foreign policy priorities. The Philippines has steadily contributed to the community-building process through its active participation in achieving the targets set in the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community, which is composed of blueprints for each of the three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

Regarding the cooperation relation between Vietnam and the Philippines within the framework of ASEAN, the Ambassador said the quality of the cooperation has steadily risen over the past few years, driven by common concern on several transnational and cross-cutting issues in ASEAN that are of great significance to both Member States.

In particular, the Embassy of the Philippines has participated in ASEAN-related events that have been organized in the past three years, which was during the lead-up to the formal establishment of the ASEAN Community, he said, adding that the contribution of the Embassy to these activities is another sign of the steady rise in the level of cooperation between the Philippines and Vietnam, in pursuit of the promotion and development of ASEAN.-VNA