President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should not ignore the “scourge” of illegal drugs on the youth.
During the the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2017 in Cambodia, Duterte said the youth is a key sector that the leaders must invest in.
“We must empower them to be the best version of themselves,” he said. “But we cannot turn a blind eye on the scourge of illegal drugs that threatens our youth and the future of our societies.”
According to him, the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2016-2020 encourages youth entrepreneurship, employment and employability, awareness, volunteerism, and resilience.
Duterte also identified the challenges ASEAN is facing. He said integration and connectivity efforts have to be ramped up and technological changes that affect the work force, trade, investment, and capital flows should be addressed.
"Transnational crime threatens to undermine [our] economic progress and development gaps threaten to hold us back from achieving the inclusive growth for our peoples," he added.
As this year's ASEAN chair, Duterte said the Philippines aims to establish "meaningful partnerships for positive change."
“The Philippines will do its part. ASEAN member-states will do their part as well. Join us and together let us be partners in an enduring engagement to bring positive change for our world and our region,” he said.