Romualdez: ASEAN must boost economic ties in post-pandemic era

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Wednesday said leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must join hands for enhanced trade and investment among member states in the post-pandemic era to sustain the region’s economic growth and create more jobs and business opportunities for their citizens. ‘As we navigate the post-pandemic era, we must enhance trade and investment among ASEAN countries, prioritize expanding and diversifying our economies, and develop digital infrastructure and supply chains,’ Romualdez said during the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly’s (AIPA) interface with ASEAN Leaders on the first day of the 42nd ASEAN Summit at the Meruorah Convention Center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. Romualdez, who headed the Philippine delegation to the regional lawmakers’ assembly, said these actions will improve connectivity among ASEAN member states, facilitate the movement of goods, services and people, and promote greater cooperation in areas such as science and technology, innovation, and human capital development. ‘By doing so, we can enhance the competitiveness of our economies and position ourselves for sustained growth,’ he said. Besides post-pandemic recovery efforts, Romualdez said ASEAN must also strive to put focus on healthcare and social protection to protect their people from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. He said ASEAN executive and legislative leaders must acknowledge the importance of working together towards shared goals through shared responsibility and collective action. ‘The Philippine Congress and our esteemed President, His Excellency Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. share this commitment,’ he added. Romualdez said ASEAN leaders must seize “the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to building a sustainable and resilient future for all of our citizens.’ The ASEAN member states, he said, should work together to address the impact of climate change, which poses a serious threat to the sustained growth of the countries in the region. ‘As leaders, we must be proactive and take decisive action to enhance climate resilience and promote green economies by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to renewable energy sources, and investing in sustainable infrastructure and transportation,’ he added. Romualdez cited the need for ASEAN leaders to adopt a collaborative and holistic approach that leverages the strengths and resources of each nation, in improving disaster risk reduction and management, promoting sustainable agriculture, and safeguarding biodiversity. The Speaker also underscored the importance of diplomacy in addressing the threats to regional peace and stability. ‘By strengthening existing mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation, ASEAN would help promote political and security cooperation among its members,’ Romualdez said. ‘By collaborating in a spirit of openness, cooperation, and mutual respect, we can create a more secure and prosperous future for our region and its people.’

Source: Philippines News Agency