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Saturday, June 14, 2008

President Arroyo appeals for

President Gloria Arroyo appealed for the passage of the Asean Charter for further economic integration within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, the Philippine government said in a statement on Friday.

Economic integration within Asean is imperative to face the challenges of globalization, the Chief Executive said during an Independence Day reception on Thursday in MalacaƱang.

“Certainly, economic integration among Asean nations is imperative if we, as a region, are to take advantage of the expanding global trade and economic opportunities,” the President added.

Mrs. Arroyo said strong global engagement and the establishment of an Asean Charter would “certainly” open more opportunities for its member-countries.

“We are thrilled at the prospect of a vibrant Asean. We hold great hope for the Asean Charter, which will be the first and the boldest step toward the creation of a regional economic community,” she added.

During its chairmanship, the Philippines pushed for the establishment of an Asean Charter to create a single regional community by 2015, that was eventually signed by the Asean leaders in Singapore, and is now up for ratification by the member-countries, the statement said.

“As for the passage of the Asean Charter, we would love nothing more than to see Asean consolidate its gains and move closer together. However, we’ll leave this up to the Philippine Senate which has been asked to review the charter for ratification,” the President said.

According to Mrs. Arroyo, the Philippines is doing its part to “create a world that is more humane.” She cited the “sympathy” extended to the people of Sichuan province, which was recently hit by a devastating earthquake, and the medical teams sent to Myanmar to help the people there recover from a deadly cyclone.

The President said the Philippines is also coordinating with Asean neighbors in sending financial aid to Myanmar.

Asean groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
-- Xinhua
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