Duterte calls for ‘deeper sense of common purpose’ amid pandemic


President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday called for cooperation among the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

“Bouncing back from the pandemic appears to be a daunting task,” Duterte said in his message for the 53rd founding anniversary of the ASEAN.

However, he said that addressing the pandemic “if pursued with friends” –referring to neighbor countries –“the burden is shared and transformed into an opportunity to create a more resilient Southeast Asian region.”

As of Friday, the Philippines logged 122,754 COVID-19 cases with 3,379 new infections of which 2,298 are “fresh” or newly validated and 1,081 are late. 

On Thursday, the Philippines overtook Indonesia as the COVID-19  hotspot in Southeast Asia. 

“With deeper sense of common purpose, we will continue to work together as one ASEAN and strengthen partnerships with friends within and outside the region,” Duterte said.

“We are confident that the ASEAN way of partnership and mutual aid will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with our community-building endeavors,” the President said.

Founded in 1967, the ASEAN counts as members the Philippines, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“Though challenges remain, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN’s commitment to community-building has never been stronger,” Duterte said. —LBG, GMA News

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