DTI unveils civil society agenda at ASEAN meet

The Department of Trade and Industry has put forward the agenda of civil society organizations during the conclusion of the 31st Meeting of the High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration (HLTF-EI) on Thursday.

This was after DTI met with various civil society organizations to raise awareness on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and to gain support for the country’s hosting of ASEAN Summit 2017.

DTI Undersecretary Rodolfo Ceferino led the dialogue with civil society groups such as Aksyon para sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima, Buhay na may Dignidad para sa Lahat, Focus on the Global South – Philippines, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Piglas Kababaihan, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, PhilWomen on ASEAN Network, Sustainability and Participation through Education and Lifelong Learning, and Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau.

During the dialogue, the civil society groups expressed their concerns on ASEAN integration, particularly environment and climate change as well as protection of workers, women, indigenous people, and social inequity, among others.

Rodolfo assured the groups that their concerns were being addressed by the Philippine government in the HLTF-EI meeting.

“The Philippines’ agenda priorities focus on inclusiveness and innovation. Consultations with our stakeholders ensure that these priorities are aligned with the domestic agenda,” said Rodolfo, who led the 31st HLTF-EI meeting.

Rodolfo reiterated that the Philippines is advancing matters on social disparities, which include issues ranging from energy, environmental protection and climate change mitigation, women empowerment, education, decent employment and labor standards, and safeguards against race-to-the-bottom policies in ASEAN.

“Hosting ASEAN this year gives us the opportunity to advance our country’s interests and provide the way forward in ensuring that regional economic integration guarantees inclusive and sustainable growth of the region’s citizens,” he added.

“We are here to state that we are not opposed to integration, but the integration we desire should address the needs of the people, nurtures the environment, and protects human rights,” said Focus on the Global South – Philippines coordinator Joseph Purugganan. (PNA)

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