Philippines reaffirms commitment to ASEAN cooperation, media freedom

2023 September 24


The Philippine government under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is firm on its commitment to promoting regional integration and cooperation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with promoting freedom of information and preserving press freedom.

“The Philippines adheres to our responsibility to promote regional integration and cooperation among the members of ASEAN. And with the help of media, we can attain our shared goal of addressing different challenges that we face right now by building bridges between our cultures and communities,” PCO Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said in a message delivered by Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Joe Torres, Jr. during the 16th Conference of ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) in Vietnam.

Secretary Garafil highlighted the role of media in shaping a well-informed populace that is better equipped to respond to economic, environmental, and societal challenges.

She reiterated that the PCO is committed to promoting and strengthening freedom of information while continuously forging partnership with both local and international stakeholders.

“The Presidential Communications Office, the official communications arm of the Philippine government, is keen on intensifying the Freedom of Information program through its information dissemination platforms and mechanisms which have made every effort to reach the Filipinos from the national level down to every local government unit to inform every Filipino of the right to information keeping as many, if not yet all on board, with the plans, targets, and actions that the government has laid out for the nation,” Garafil said.

Garafil also stressed the need to preserve press freedom, citing media as a conduit for promoting accountability and transparency among public servants to ensure that the best interest of the people remains on top.

“Preserving press freedom stands as a fundamental pillar of a thriving democracy, and any attempts to suppress it must be resolutely opposed. Media is the cornerstone that connects the diverse nations of ASEAN, transforming information into knowledge that empowers our citizens and strengthens our collective resilience and responsiveness,” she said.

Nine other ASEAN members participated in the conference, together with Timor Leste as an observer, and three partner countries – Japan, the Republic of Korea, and China.

The conference with the theme, “Media: From Information to Knowledge for a Resilient and Responsive ASEAN,” focused on ASEAN collaboration in information and communication orientations to create a mechanism for coping with fake news in the internet, promote digital transformation in the press and communication sector, apply modern technologies to the sector, and promote the exchange of information across ASEAN and allied countries.