Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Recovering from the coronavirus crisis “appears to be a daunting task,” Duterte said in a message to mark the bloc’s 53rd founding anniversary on August 8, adding that “but if pursued with friends, the burden is shared and transformed into an opportunity to create a more resilient Southeast Asian region.”

“We are confident that the ASEAN way of partnership and mutual aid will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with our community-building endeavors,” the President added.

He said with a deeper sense of common purpose, the regional bloc will continue to work together as one and strengthen partnerships with friends within and outside the region.

Though challenges remain, ASEAN’s commitment to community-building has never been stronger, Duterte noted.

The President emphasised that today, ASEAN is the world’s fifth largest economy, driving growth and development across the region. “It is at the center of mechanims promoting peace and stability in our rapidly changing regional environment. More importantly, ASEAN is moving closer to becoming one politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible Community.”

The Philippines was among five founding members of ASEAN. The bloc now comprises 10 members, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam./.

CPV (Source: VNA)