A week after the country’s hosting of the highly successful ASEAN Summit, the euphoria of being on the
global center stage and the international spotlight brightly trained on us as gracious host, we are
having a hard time shaking off the sense of pride and accomplishment.
One word aptly describes this: Afterglow.
And if the feeling is observed nationwide, it is because all of us played key roles in making
it a resounding success.
Of course, the lead government aqencies---the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Interior Local
Government, Trade Industry, Tourism, Metro Manila Development Authority, The National Police and the
Coast Guard---deserve the main credits.
The summit was held without any problem or untoward incident, and heads of state, their
deputies, other foreign leaders, delegates, observers, and international media enjoyed and appreciated
the legendary Filipino hospitality, cultural and culinary delights, and natural beauty and diversity.
The talkfest also produced landmark documents on migrant worker’s welfare and the draft
framework on the code of conduct in the South China Sea, among others.
And so we are again back on the global map not only as international player but as a consensus
Thus, Malacañang has extended its gratitude to all Filipinos for their contribution to the
“tremendous success” of the Philippines’ hosting of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing, said the country’s Chairmanship of
ASEAN 2017 was generally peaceful, orderly, and fruitful, owing to the Filipino people’s support and
“We’d like to thank everyone, most especially the Filipino people, for the support and
cooperation [in] making this event peaceful, orderly, fruitful, and very much a success,” Roque said.
He stressed that the success of the momentous event is indicative of President Rodrigo Roa
Duterte’s ability to lead the country towards global recognition.
“The world community now recognizes not only the fact that the Philippine President is not
just the President of the Philippines, a leader of Southeast Asia, but a recognized leader in the
international community,” he said.
“And they have also given notice that the Philippines is able to competently host a meeting
of this scale and scope. And the fact that there was no untoward incident proves that the Philippines
is safe to visit,” he added.
This year’s ASEAN Summit also set in motion a number of constructive negotiations among ASEAN
member states and their dialogue partners, the Cabinet official noted.
For one, Roque cited discussions during the Summit, which led to an agreement between ASEAN
and China to start formal talks on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the West Philippine Sea. The talks are
set to commence early next year, he announced.
Roque described this as a “milestone agreement,” stressing that this was the first time
claimant countries have agreed to start formal discussions on a CoC that is expected to be legally
“I think all the parties want it to be somehow legally binding. Otherwise, if it’s merely
aspirational,” Roque said. “I think that was a priority of the President because unless it becomes
legally binding, we would not achieve the kind of predictability that all the countries want in order
to achieve peace and stability in the region,” he added.
Roque added that there is now easing of tensions in the disputed territories due to the countries’
willingness to adopt a more peaceful resolution to the conflict.
The Philippines for its part remains open to conducting bilateral talks with other claimant states,
including China, the Spokesperson noted.
“President Duterte has been consistent that he is open to bilateral talks as far as resolving the
conflict is concerned. He has said it time and again that he does not see any utility in talking to
third parties who are not parties to the conflict,” Roque said.