Tribute painting for ASEAN founders unveiled

MANILA-- Paying tribute to the five founding fathers of the ASEAN, a painting of ASEAN founders was unveiled here Saturday.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and ASEAN Foreign Ministers Chair Alan Peter Cayetano led the launching of the painting during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The painting, done by Filipino artist Peter Paul Blanco, depicts ASEAN's birth -- the signing of the ASEAN Declaration in Bangkok, Thailand on Aug. 8, 1967.

Foreign ministers that signed the document were Adam Malik of Indonesia, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand.

The ASEAN Declaration established a regional cooperation among Southeast Asian countries to be known as Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

The areas of cooperation targeted by the five founding member-countries were in areas of economic, social, cultural, technical, educational, and other fields.

Looking back at Southeast Asia from 50 years ago, one cannot help but appreciate the vision, the wisdom, the courage, the hard work put forth by the founding fathers and those that came before us. How could these people think that during this time, an organization like this can work and can become a very effective mechanism of partnership and cooperation? Yet, they pursued and that is why we're here today, Cayetano said in his opening remarks.

From five members, the regional bloc has grown to 10 member states, adding Brunei Darussalam in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999.

In a few days we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. At the time the Philippines is once again holding the rotating chairmanship of the ASEAN, this rare opportunity of chairing ASEAN and presiding over the celebrations marking its golden jubilee calls for the entire Filipino nations to rejoice and to bring out the best and finest from among us to honor the legacy of our founding fathers, Cayetano added.

Let us seize the opportunity to transform shared aspirations and values instituted by our founding fathers. No less, their dreams and their visions into concrete actions and tangible outcomes that will propel our community to the bright future our people truly deserved, the Philippine foreign affairs chief noted.

Source: Philippine News Agency