MANILA, Philippines — At the conclusion of the 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in Vientiane, Laos on Sept. 8, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the rotating chairmanship of the organization.
The Philippines will host ASEAN 2017 with the theme "Partnering for change, engaging the world" in reference to Duterte's campaign slogan "change is coming."
When Duterte accepted the chairmanship, his supporters on social media congratulated him for assuming the leadership of the 10-nation bloc, assuming that he had been elected.
As a matter of fact, the Philippines has long been in line for the ASEAN chairmanship.
Article 31 of the ASEAN Charter states that chairmanship of the ASEAN shall rotate annually based on alphabetical order of the English names of the member states.
The Philippines last hosted the ASEAN Summit in 2006 under the leadership of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada had also chaired the bloc in 1987 and 1999, respectively.
The ASEAN chair is expected to head the following:
Under Article 32 of the ASEAN Charter, the Philippines as a member state holding chairmanship is expected to:
Upon assuming chairmanship, Duterte said that the Philippines will highlight the ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player.
“We will pursue initiative and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security and growth, all the while retaining ASEAN’s centrality, unity and solidarity, we will maintain for all times,” Duterte said in his acceptance speech.