Effective communication helps promote ASEAN identity, vision

BACOLOD CITY-- An effective communication strategy can help gain public support and commitment to the initiatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary and Chairperson of the 15th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials Responsible for Information (SOMRI) Noel Puyat stressed the need to communicate and promote ASEAN's identity and purpose.

"As we strive to achieve the ASEAN Vision 2025, our main objective is to find ways to effectively communicate and promote ASEAN's meaning and identity; so that our citizens not only gain awareness of our organization that becomes inspired to participate and support the Community to build an ASEAN that is truly people-centered," Puyat said in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 15th ASEAN SOMRI held Wednesday at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City.

The ASEAN Vision 2025 aims to work for the realization of an ASEAN Community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible.

The PCOO official said the ASEAN Strategic Plan for Information and Media 2016-2025 serves as a roadmap on strengthening the role of information and media sector in the region towards supporting the community pillars with their communication needs; advocating the policies and initiatives implemented by ASEAN and communication with the people through different platforms and channels.

He emphasized that communication should work towards promoting peace and stability in the region especially in affirming the need for a rules-based approach in the people resolution of disputes in accordance with the principles of international law; supporting the development of micro, small and medium enterprises; and inspiring citizens to protect the environment and live sustainably.

"It is the implementation that matters in the end. We shall consider a monitoring and evaluation framework which is important in tracking the progress and development of our communication objectives," Puyat said.

He noted that there has been significant progress between the ASEAN and its cooperation with dialogue partners and other stakeholders on the promotion of awareness in creating a sense of belonging, consolidating unity in diversity and enhancing deeper mutual understanding among ASEAN member states on their culture, history, religion and civilization.

The private sector is also encouraged to cooperate in creating and disseminating ASEAN information to reach wide audiences which have stakes on its development and goals.

"Today, we can contribute to creating the ASEAN sense of belonging, of understanding cultures and histories; of overcoming the borders in religions and languages. We will prove to the world, time and again, that in ASEAN, there is much unity to be found in diversity."

The SOMRI Meeting aims to craft strategies to intensify promotion of awareness, understanding and appreciation of the ASEAN Community, including the regional organization's 50th Founding Anniversary. It will also lay out recommendations and programs to strengthen the information and media sectors of the ASEAN Member States, including activities that provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and capability building for information and media organizations among the ASEAN member states and with dialogue partners.

The delegates will also discuss the progress of the implementation of its work programs and related activities, including the ASEAN Strategic Plan for Information and Media 2016-2025, and are expected to firm up joint activities of the ASEAN information sector for the commemoration of the 50th Founding Anniversary of ASEAN this year.

The Philippines, as the Chair of ASEAN 2017, will host a grand commemorative celebration of ASEAN@50 on August 8.

Source: Philippines News Agency