Jakarta, Indonesia
September 6, 2023

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. advocated for several priority agendas as Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its Dialogue Partners from the People’s Republic of China (PROC), Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan gathered for the 26th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The President highlighted three (3) critical areas that should be given priority by all parties, as outlined in his intervention statement.

First, he emphasized the importance of strengthening regional food security mechanisms by increasing the emergency rice supply of the APT through the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR).

He urged the leaders to consider the Philippines’ proposal to diversify the APTERR by including other commodities and staple foods in addition to rice, noting that such diversification would contribute to enhancing food security, alleviating poverty, and eradicating hunger and malnutrition among ASEAN Member Countries.

“We need to mainstream sustainable agriculture and food production systems that enable us to meet the demand for food without compromising the well-being of our natural environment,” the Chief Executive said.

Second, President Marcos Jr. highlighted the need for APT to fulfill its commitment to bridging the digital divide and unlocking the complete potential of the digital economy.

He called for collaborative efforts to enhance the accessibility of digital infrastructure and provide opportunities for improving digital literacy and upskilling. He stressed that this is essential to ensure that no member or individual is left behind in embracing the rapidly evolving digital future.

He further emphasized that it is an opportune time to institutionalize sectoral cooperation on the Creative Economy, recognizing its significance in driving innovation, economic growth and job creation within the region.

Third, the President emphasized the importance of promoting the transition to a circular economy among APT countries. He urged for partnerships between governments and the private sector to effectively address critical issues such as climate change, ocean waste and pollution in a sustainable and resilient manner, without compromising the health of the planet.

“As we have seen time and again in our APT history, we can find opportunities in every crisis, strength in our very differences in order to move quickly to take advantage of those opportunities,” he concluded.