PNoy, ASEAN leaders to discuss integration in 24th Summit

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 09 2014 07:51 PM | Updated as of May 10 2014 03:51 AM

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar - President Benigno Aquino III will be joining fellow leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the 24th ASEAN Summit here over the weekend.

Aquino will lead on Saturday the Philippine delegation to the ASEAN Summit, which will be held at Myanmar International Convention Center in Nay Pyi Taw on May 10 to 11.

This year's summit theme is "Moving Forward in Unity to A Peaceful and Prosperous Community," which emphasizes the importance of a united ASEAN.

Upon arrival here, Aquino will join fellow leaders at the welcome dinner to be hosted by Myanmar President U Thein Sein for all ASEAN leaders and their delegations attending the summit.

On Sunday, the President is scheduled to attend the ASEAN Summit Plenary, the Summit Retreat, and the meetings with representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Civil Society Organizations, and the ASEAN Youth.

During an interview with PBS-RTVM, Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Alex Chua said preparations for the ASEAN integration would be one of the agenda for this year's summit.

"I believe that during these meetings, our leaders will discuss the various preparations being made to realize an integrated ASEAN that aims to benefit the peoples in the region, including the Filipinos in Myanmar, in terms of unimpeded movement of people, goods, and services in the region," Chua said.

Chua said the summit also provides a venue for Aquino to raise awareness about the country's priorities in the region.

"As we move towards a more integrated ASEAN, it is important for the Philippines to create awareness on the country's priorities in the region, such as maritime security and the need to focus in the region on micro, small, and medium enterprises, among others. The 24th ASEAN Summit provides a venue for the President to do that," Chua said.

Aquino will also participate in the 10th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit.

The President is expected to depart for Manila on Sunday evening.