MANILA – On the Philippines’ initiative, member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed Saturday a declaration that aims to build better-equipped and more efficient public servants across the region, the “backbone” of the bloc’s reform and development goals.
The region’s leaders adopted the ASEAN Leaders Declaration on the Role of the Civil Service as Catalyst for Achieving ASEAN Community Vision 2025 Saturday afternoon, the only document adopted at the summer summit, said Civil Service Commission Chair Alicia Bala.
The official said the document was given priority as it would upgrade the quality of government workers in the region, implementors of the ASEAN’s political, economic and socio-cultural agenda.
“It’s the Philippines who really pushed for it because the implementation or the realization of the ASEAN community vision is dependent on civil service. Whether they are performing roles in the area of political security, in the economic pillar or the socio-cultural pillar, civil service is the backbone,” Bala told reporters.
“To make the ASEAN vision realized, we want to acknowledge that civil service is the driving force,” she said.
Under the declaration, ASEAN civil service institutions will work together to develop capacity-building programs, enhancing professional standards, and “upholding and protecting” the welfare of state workers, especially those deployed during disaster response and other hazardous situations.
Capacity-building efforts would focus on “critical areas of concern” such as enhanced people management, organizational performance, skills building, environment promotion, health management, and disaster management.”
“We take pride because this is the Philippines’ initiative in its chairmanship of the ASEAN,” said Bala.
In a separate briefing, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, chair of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council, said initial work was accomplished on five documents set to be presented at the biannual summit’s November meetings in Manila.
“Looking forward, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council is confident that it will endorse to the ASEAN leaders in the 31st ASEAN Summit in November five outcome documents. Once adopted, [they] will benefit the marginalized and vulnerable sectors.”
These documents are:
- ASEAN Instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers
- ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals
- ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition
- ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration of Commitment on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR): Combating AMR Through One Health Approach; and
- ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Youth Development Index
“These documents, which are aligned with the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025, intends to influence policy and program development in ASEAN member states,” Taguiwalo said.