MANILA, Sept. 10 (PNA) — The Philippines will host the 50th anniversary celebration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) across 11 cities nationwide.

These events include the 30th ASEAN Summit in March and April to be held at Mactan Island, Cebu province and the 31st ASEAN Summit in August at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga province.

During turnover ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos last Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte accepted the ASEAN chairmanship for 2017 on behalf of the Filipino people. The official launch of the Philippine chairmanship will be on Jan. 5 in Davao City.

The summit will revolve around the theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”. This is in keeping with the administration’s policy of change and cooperation with its closest Asian neighbors and ASEAN partner countries.

In preparation for the hosting, a video presentation was shown after the closing ceremonies of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane. The video highlighted the Philippines’ achievements as one of the ASEAN’s founding members in 1967 and the country’s contributions to the alliance.

It ended with a simple message from President Duterte: “In 2017, we, the Filipinos, are proud to welcome you to 7,107 islands of beauty, wonder and fun that will make a year of memories last a lifetime. Mabuhay at dagahang salamat.”

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