August 2, 2007
Romulo turns over ASEAN chair to Singapore’s Yeo
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo today handed over chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee to Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister George Yong-Boon Yeo after successfully steering the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu last January and the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and other related meetings in Manila this week. more
During simple turnover ceremonies at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) this afternoon, Romulo presented to Yeo the ASEAN flag to officially pass the chairmanship from the Philippines to Singapore.
The turnover of the ASC chairmanship came at the end of a series of annual ASEAN meetings which included the 40th AMM, the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) and the 14th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) which concluded just this afternoon at the Philippine International Convention Center.
In his closing remarks, Romulo expressed his sincere thanks to the ASEAN Secretariat and the foreign ministers that attended the five-day conference for their continuing support and close cooperation that have been indispensable to the RP's task of carrying out and fulfilling their common goals.
He said the ASEAN has made substantial strides through the efforts of all the participants in the ministerial meetings.
He particularly took note of the adoption of the provision on the establishment of a human rights body in the ASEAN Charter, an issue that the Philippines has advocated since discussions started on the ASEAN Charter led by the Eminent Persons Group.
The ASEAN Charter will be approved by the ASEAN Leaders when they hold their 13th Summit in Singapore in November this year.
Romulo also cited the adoption of the ASEAN foreign ministers of two vital documents that will boost the migrant workers' welfare -- The Statement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion Rights of Migrant Workers, and the Guidelines for the Provision of Emergency Assistance by ASEAN Missions in Third Countries to Nationals of ASEAN Member Countries in Crisis Situations.
He also lauded the designation of former Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan as ASEAN Secretary General to succeed Ong Keng Yong of Singapore whose five-year term ends December 31. Surin will serve a five-year term, too.
Meanwhile, in his acceptance remarks, Yeo assured his ASEAN counterparts that, in the true spirit of the ASEAN unity and cooperation and dialogue, he would continue the initiatives of his predecessors to push for ASEAN's agenda.
The Singapore official said during the 13th ASEAN Summit this November, the ASEAN leaders are expected to focus on the so-called three C's – Charter, Community-Building and Challenges for the Future. Office of the Press Secretary, Philippines