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Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila

College of Engineering and Technology

The 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit

Prepared by:
Angela Mariz V. Reyes

Submitted to:
Dr. Carlos Sison, PECE
I. Overview

The Philippines proudly hosts the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits from November 10 to 14
this year. The summit was attended by Leaders from twenty (20) countries from the ASEAN Member
States namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, United States
(US), Canada, European Union (EU), and the United Nations Secretary General. In fact, this summit is
the second of the two ASEAN Summits that our country hosted this year.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the 31st ASEAN Summit plenary under the theme “Partnering for Change,
Engaging the world”. The leaders exchanged views regarding regional and international issues. Aside
from that the leaders discussed the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and they
appointed the new Secretary-General of ASEAN. President Duterte also led various Commemorative
Summits with different states. These meetings reviewed the relationship of the states, and coordinated the
future direction of cooperation within these mechanisms.

The ASEAN Leaders interfaced with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASAEN BAC) and the
APT Leaders interfaced with the East Asia Business Council. However, some of ASEAN Leaders
attended the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Summit.

Most importantly the ASEAN Leaders signed the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of
the Rights of Migrant Workers. This document further seeks to strengthen social protection, access to
justice, humane and fair treatment, and access to health services for the migrant workers of Southeast

At the Closing Ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, President Duterte handed
over the Chairmanship of ASEAN for the incoming ASEAN Summit in 2018 to Prime Minister Lee
Hsien Loong of Singapore.

A. Opening Remarks

President Duterte’s opening remarks on the 31st ASEAN Summit was able to highlight the important
areas of the system that the leaders should argue and talk about. I think he effectively opened the eyes of
the leaders and people inside the venue regarding his ideals and concerns on our country-fights against
drugs, crimes and corruptions.

The President was able to share the terrorist attack incident in the City of Marawi to all the Leaders and
people inside the venue. He confidently announced that the Philippines is in the process of rehabilitation
and state of helping the people back on their feet to start again their lives inside the city. I like this part the
most because I can feel the pain in his words as a president. He apologized to the Leaders for opening the
Summit in this kind of statement, but through these words he was able to emphasize his duty as a
president. And as a president, he also mentioned his gratitude to international partners that provided
assistance in dealing the situation in Marawi.

We know president Duterte as a controversial president and some issues set an impression to President
Duterte. And in his opening remarks he showed his strong agenda in fighting drugs. He took this
opportunity to engage meaningful discussions on matters regarding terrorism, illegal drug trade, global
commerce etc. Aside from that he also mentioned the agreement regarding the Protection and Promotion
of the Rights of Migrant Workers. For me, mentioning this will make this topic the highlight of the whole
summit. Once this agreement is signed I will surely participate in looking forward on the implementation
of this agreement.

B. ASEAN Leaders sign commitment protecting migrant workers

For the past years, the creation of the consensus seemed impossible because parties could not agree on the
legal nature of the document, the protection of undocumented workers and the coverage of migrant
workers’ families. Finally, after a decade, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has
finally made progress in ensuring the protection of migrant workers.

ASEAN Leaders closed the 31st ASEAN summit by signing the “ASEAN Consensus on the Protection
and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers” on November 14. President Duterte presented the
signed document to ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh. The consensus includes the following

 Fair treatment of migrant workers with respect to gender and nationality

 Visitation rights by family members
 Prohibition against confiscation of passports and overcharging of placement or recruitment fees
 Protection against violence and sexual harassment in the workplace
 Regulation of recruiters for better protection of workers
 Right to fair and appropriate remuneration benefits and their right to join trade unions and

I’d like to commend President Duterte to the success of this consensus. I congratulate him for succeeding
in such vital convention which past leaders of our country totally ignored and failed achieving this kind of
success. This consensus will give the migrants the fair treatment they deserve and the environment that is
C. Highlights of the Summit

Aside from this commitment, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, the people-centered pillar of the
association, also adopted the:

 ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition

 ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Anti-Microbial Resistance
 ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Disaster Health Management
 ASEAN Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community
Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals
 ASEAN Declaration on Culture of Prevention for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and
Harmonious Society
 ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to the UNFCCC COP-23
 Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN

The other highlights of the summit were the discussions by the ASEAN 10 and China on the Code of the
Conduct in the South China Sea. China has been sending their best people in summits to talk vague
principles and general statements. But onsite, they build structures and reclaim lands. All these
notwithstanding, the summit succeeded in conveying the China that most of the ASEAN members are not
happy with its actions in the region. And what matters most, is at the end of the day, the summit and the
leaders succeeded in pushing the six thematic priorities: A people-oriented and a people-centered
ASEAN, peace and stability in the region, maritime security and cooperation, inclusive and innovation-
led growth, ASEAN resiliency, and a model of regionalism and a global player.