Arroyo underscores need to pass ASEAN charter

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday stressed the need to pass the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) charter, saying this will allow ASEAN members to cope with the demands of globalization.

“Certainly, economic integration among Asian nations is imperative if we, as a region, are to take advantage of the expanding global trade and economic opportunities,” she told members of the diplomatic community in a dinner commemorating the country’s independence from Spain.

“As for the passage of the ASEAN Charter, we would love nothing more than to see ASEAN consolidate its gains and move closer together.”

Mrs. Arroyo, however, said she will let the Senate review the proposed ASEAN charter before it will be ratified.

“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 towards the creation of a regional economic community,” she said.

The Philippines is one of the countries pushing for the creation of an ASEAN Charter to form a single regional community by 2015. It was signed by the ASEAN leaders in Singapore and is now awaiting ratification by member countries.

The intention to create the charter was formally tackled at the 11th ASEAN Summit held in December 2005 in Malaysia. It was signed in November 2007

The charter seeks, among others to make ASEAN a legal entity. It seeks, among others, to form a regional human rights body, and create a criteria for the admission of new members.


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