MANILA, Sept. 9 (PNA) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday accepted the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017, on behalf of the Filipino people.

In his acceptance speech, the President vowed to pursue initiatives and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security, and growth.

During the Philippines’ chairmanship, he said the country will highlight ASEAN as a model of regionalism and as a global player, with the interest of the people at its core.

He said the Philippines is ready and willing to steer and guide the association, which is celebrating its 50th founding anniversary next year.

According to Pres. Duterte, “crucial to the realization of our goals is the cooperation and support of all ASEAN member states and our dialogue partners.”

The President invited the nine other ASEAN countries to be the Philippines’ “dynamic and vibrant partners as we guide ASEAN in 2017.”

He revealed next year’s theme to be ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.’

“It captures our resolve to consolidate our community for our peoples, with a sense of togetherness and common identity, ready and able to take our rightful place in the global community of nations,” Pres. Duterte added.

“It will be an occasion for us to set the tone for the next 50 years. Join us in making the commemoration of ASEAN’s 50th a success. With great honor and humility, I accept the chairmanship of the ASEAN from our excellent host, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic,” Pres. Duterte said.

He also took the occasion to thank and congratulate Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith for Laos’ successful chairmanship of the ASEAN throughout this year.

“You guided us with the timely motto of ‘Turning Vision into Reality for Dynamic ASEAN community.’ You ably did your part in deepening integration to move us towards the realization of a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN community,” he said.

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