By Jaimie Rose Aberia
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said that peace and order and public security are among the issues he will be discussing with his fellow local chief executives in the Southeast Asian states in the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in November.
Estrada said the conduct of the 2017 ASEAN Mayors and Governors Meeting to be hosted by Manila is timely considering that the Philippines remains under serious threat of terrorism similar to the ongoing siege of Marawi City by a Muslim extremist group.
“I’m looking forward to the Manila Declaration that you are preparing to be presented to the 5th meeting of governors and mayors of ASEAN capital cities here in November,” the Manila mayor told the foreign delegates of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in the welcome ceremonies at the Universidad de Manila.
“I expect we will be discussing pressing issues that us local chief executives must address – public security, cooperation, and capacity-building. Your recommendations and suggested action plan is a step forward for us,” Estrada said.
The Philippines was chosen as the chairman of ASEAN 2017, which will be highlighted by the ASEAN Leaders Summit in November that will be attended by 21 state leaders, including US President Donald Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and leaders of all the 10 ASEAN member-countries.
Right after the gathering of the world leaders in Clark, Pampanga, the City of Manila will be hosting the ASEAN Mayors and Governors Meeting, which is composed of the chief executives of the regional bloc’s capital cities and metropolises, according to Atty. Sol Alboradura, head of the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau (MTCAB).
She said senior representatives of the ASEAN member-states convened the SOM at the Manila Pavilion Hotel from May 24 to 25 “to prepare for the big event in November.”
“These are senior officials of ASEAN countries. They are here in order to plan what they are going to tackle in the coming conference in November, among them are peace and order and security,” Alboradura said.
“As mentioned by Mayor Estrada, this is toward cooperation among the ASEAN nations in order to promote better ASEAN countries and also to promote tourism,” she added.
Estrada said the hosting of the ASEAN 2017 is another milestone for the country.
“This is a major opportunity for the Philippines to show not only to our fellow ASEAN members but to the whole world the progress that we have achieved and the path that we are pursuing; and the City of Manila is proudly a major part of this,” he said.
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