OFF TO SINGAPORE:  PRESIDENT  ARROYO'S  DEPARTURE  STATEMENT

MANILA
, NOVEMBER 18, 2007 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY, MALACANANG) We are departing for Singapore and the ASEAN Leaders Summit committed to advancing the interests of the Philippine people in three key areas: human rights, environmental protection and economic development.

The interests of the people of the Philippines come first. Their agenda is my agenda in Singapore: energy independence, environmental stewardship, a strong economy and a commitment to human rights.

ASEAN is increasingly important as our region becomes more integrated economically, socially and politically. ASEAN is becoming a more cohesive regional powerhouse that will enhance the interests of each member nation and provide balance to the rise of China as well as to our traditional relationship with North America and Europe.

At the successful ASEAN Summit in Cebu which we chaired last year, we launched several key initiatives, most notably the pursuit of the ASEAN Charter for the purpose of strengthening our economic clout and regional self-sufficiency. At that time, we also called for stronger environmental standards, energy self-sufficiency and insisted upon an ASEAN Human Rights body.

We are proud to announce that ASEAN is making progress on each and every initiative we started in Cebu - and this is good news for the Philippines. We are determined to complete in Singapore what we started in Cebu. We are committed to advance our commitment to human rights, propel our commitment to a healthy environment led by energy self sufficiency and continue to strengthen our economic comeback.

Our nation is moving forward on the strength of the Philippine worker, our willingness to engage the world and the work of our administration to bring peace, order and stability to our nation. ASEAN is part of our plan to achieve these goals.

In this holiday season, it is important to be connected to peoples and nations abroad just as we are focused on our friends, neighbors and families at home. We must all stand together to advance the interests of humanity and lift up the fortunes of the poor and dispossessed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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