MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III left the Philippines for Malaysia on Friday, November 20, to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit for the last time as chief executive.
Aquino is flying to Malaysia after the Philippines on Thursday, November 19, concluded its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. (READ: Aquino on APEC: ‘We have refocused on people’)
“Siyempre po, dahil ito na ang huling pagkakataon na dadalo ako sa ASEAN bilang inyong Pangulo, gagamitin din natin ang pagkakataon upang magpaalam sa mga pinuno ng Timog-Silangang Asya,” Aquino said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
(Of course, because this will be the last time I will attend the ASEAN Summit as your president, we will use the opportunity to say goodbye to the leaders of Southeast Asia.)
“Pasasalamatan natin sila sa kanilang pagtitiwala at pagsusuporta sa ating pagtahak sa Daang Matuwid; sa kanilang pakikiramay sa panahon ng sakuna; sa kanilang pakikipagtulungan upang lalo pang mapaigting ang seguridad ng ating rehiyon; at sa kanilang pagiging katuwang sa pagsusulong ng mapayapa at makatuwirang resolusyon sa mga hamon na kinakaharap natin,” the President added.
(We will thank them for their trust and support in pursuing the Straight Path; for their compassion in times of disaster; for their willingness to help in ensuring security in the region; and for their being a reliable partner in promoting a peaceful and reasonable resolution to the challenges we face.)
Aquino vows ‘good news’
Aquino said he is scheduled to return to the Philippines on Monday, November 23.
He is set to step down from office on June 30, 2016, as Philippine presidents only have 6-year terms with no chance to get re-elected.
In his speech, Aquino also said the ASEAN Summit this month is “special” because Southeast Asian leaders will launch the ASEAN Community.
Aquino said the ASEAN Community will allow member states to help each other boost the economy, intensify security, and ensure the welfare of citizens.
He said the regional bloc will also outline the ASEAN Vision 2025, a unified direction to be pursued by member states “to ensure no one is left behind in reaching for progress.”
The President promised, too, to bring home “good news for our Bosses,” referring to Filipinos.
“Malinaw po: Habang pinagtitibay natin ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa ibang bansa, lalo ring yumayabong ang mga ipinunla nating positibong pagbabago sa ating lipunan,” Aquino said.
(It is clear: While we strengthen our ties with other countries, we also enrich the positive changes we’ve begun in society.) – Rappler.com