THE ASSOCIATION of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should enhance cooperation among its members towards boosting the region’s minerals value chain, which is essential to the green energy transition, Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Wednesday.
“The Philippines will take bold steps to transition to renewable and alternative energy technologies in a secure and sustainable manner,” he said in his intervention during the 42nd ASEAN Summit Plenary session, based on a press release from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
“Recognizing that a cleaner energy future is anchored on the supply of critical minerals, ASEAN should now start enhancing regional cooperation towards boosting the region’s strategic industrial metals and minerals value chain,” he said.
Exploration, project development, mining, and minerals processing are among the major stages of the minerals industry value-chain.
The President also called for ASEAN unity in urging developed countries to fulfill their longstanding commitments to the Paris Agreement.
The regional bloc should also demonstrate its commitment to the principles of free trade and to the multilateral trading system, he said.
AGEING POPULATIONDuring his intervention, Mr. Marcos Jr. also expressed his concerns over the ageing population in the Southeast Asian region.
“Decades of sustained economic growth and prosperity has resulted in longer lifespans in ASEAN.”
Citing the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Marcos said one out of four people in the Asia Pacific will be over the age of 60 by the year 2050.
“I think therefore it is time that ASEAN should start discussing the concerns of an ageing population, consistent with the ASEAN tradition of valuing our elders,” he said.
Mr. Marcos said the issue must be viewed “in terms of adequate social benefits on the one hand and social empowerment on the other.”
“ASEAN goals and work plans should ensure health for our elders, a safe and dignified, and productive life.”
The 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia started on May 9 and will end May 11.
Also on Wednesday, Mr. Marcos met with Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Prime Minister Sonexay Siphadone.
They vowed to boost cooperation in health, education, trade, and people-to-people exchange agreements, among others, the PCO said in a separate release.
“We have 2,000 more or less Filipino nationals who are living in Lao and working in Lao PDR and we are very proud of the contributions that they have made, especially in the educational sector,” Mr. Marcos said during his meeting with the Lao official.
The President also cited the Philippines’ robust healthcare system that was tested during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“But also there’s much more to that; there’s also an educational aspect and I think that we have the basis in our agreements, and we can build upon that regard,” Mr. Marcos said, saying education can also be an area that the two countries can promote “now that things are beginning to open up.”
The President also pointed out the two nations can boost professional workforce exchanges.
During the meeting, Mr. Siphadone invited Mr. Marcos for a state visit to Lao PDR.
In return, Mr. Marcos also extended an invitation to the Lao leader for a visit to the Philippines.
“The two nations can start to discuss trade in terms of investment on the possibility of the Lao officials’ state visit to the Philippines,” the PCO said, citing Mr. Marcos. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza