President Benigno S. Aquino III is leaving today to attend the 22nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Summit on April 24-25, 2013, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. This year's Chairman of the ASEAN is Brunei Darussalam, its second time since 2001.
His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who received the ASEAN gavel from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during the closing ceremony of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 20, 2012.
The ASEAN Leaders' Summit is an annual meeting by the 10 member states of the ASEAN - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - which serves as platform to peacefully discuss the situation in Southeast Asia and to craft decisions that would contribute to economic growth, social progress, and cultural development. This year's theme, "Our People, Our Future Together," stressesthe role of the people of ASEAN in realizing the vision of ASEAN Community by 2015.
On the Summit agenda are economic integration development and the developing regional structure. The Leaders will take up 2013 priorities: Strengthening connectivity, and the development gap; strengthening solidarity; and expanding cooperation with ASEAN's dialogue partners - China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. They will take up Timor Leste's bid to join ASEAN.
We wish Republic of the Philippines H.E., President Benigno S. Aquino III, and the Members of his Delegation bon voyage and a fruitful official trip to Brunei Darussalam for the 22nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Leaders' Summit. We wish them all the best and success in all endeavors. BON VOYAGE AND MABUHAY!