Intervention of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the 26th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit

Speeches 6 September 2023

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Your Excellencies of the ASEAN Plus Three, good afternoon.

The APT remains a crucial vehicle to strengthen the resiliency of the ASEAN Community. It has stood the test of time against the many challenges that we have faced together within our region.

To move the APT onwards to every greater things in both the strategic and economic arenas – we must stay united, face adversity as one, work together and focus on strengthening food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and developing the digital domain to encompass all levels of our societies in our countries to ensure connectivity, and other cross-cutting issues.

With the future in mind, we will tighten collaboration with each other and focus on the sustainable development of our region:

First, we must strengthen the regional food security mechanisms and increase the emergency rice supply of the APT through the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve or APTERR.

We reiterate our proposal for APT Cooperation to consider diversifying APTERR by adding other commodities and staple foods to rice to strengthen food security, poverty alleviation, and the eradication of hunger and malnutrition amongst ASEAN member countries. We need to mainstream sustainable agricultural and food production systems that enable us to meet the demand for food without compromising the well-being of our natural environment.

Let us therefore continue to develop and implement policies encouraging the shift to sustainable agriculture and fishery practices. Let us forge strong partnerships with key stakeholders in the private sector, strengthen food security and self-sufficiency by upgrading and expanding the agricultural sector through investments on infrastructure, and support farmers and fisherfolks.

Second, we look to the APT promise to close the digital divide and thus unleash the full potential of the digital economy. The increasing importance of the digital domain in all our economies underscores its ubiquity as a driver of economic growth, particularly for our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises and now to include our very small Nano businesses.

I also believe that it is an opportune time for ASEAN and the APT to institutionalize sectoral cooperation on the Creative Economy.

We need to underscore the creative industry in ASEAN’s regional economic integration in its agenda, particularly fostering innovation and digitalization.

Let us work together in increasing the accessibility of the digital infrastructure and provide opportunities to enhance digital literacy and digital upskilling as a way of making sure that no one and no member is left behind as we embrace an increasingly digital future.

Third, the APT countries must encourage the transition to a circular economy.

Today’s global challenges, such as climate change, ocean waste and pollution, the shift to clean energy, the creation of smart cities, and urban sustainability, all require the partnership of governments and the private sector to ensure that these critical issues are effectively addressed in a sustainable and resilient manner.

Our collaboration must give rise to paradigm-shifting innovation towards a more sustainable economic model where progress and prosperity do not come at the cost of the health of our planet.

Finally, the decisions we make today will define the course of our national and regional developmental trajectories. While our economies have common issues, we do understand that we all have our own conditions, our own priorities, our differences in policy, as we continue to cope with the rapidly changing pace of regional and global challenges.

But we must have the courage to change where change is needed. As we have seen time and again in our APT’s history, we can find opportunities in every crisis, strength in our very differences in order to move quickly to take advantage of those opportunities.

Rest assured, Excellencies, the Philippines’ full commitment and support to this noble effort.

Thank you.

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