A SIX-FOOT lantern decked with anahaw leaves and sampaguita flowers shone brightly in front of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City, on Tuesday, August 8, joining 49 other selected sites in the Philippines for the simultaneous lighting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) landmarks.
In his message prior the switch-on of the landmark, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog underscored the significance of the event, which he said will further raise people’s awareness about the regional grouping and “the huge benefits to be derived from the harmonious relationship between member countries in the Asean region.”
“Asean is very important because it has paved ways for the socio-economic development of our country and the realization of our collective visions for a secure future and the betterment of our people,” he said.
He added that being part of Asean, the Philippines market “has opened more widely to regional and international trade.”
“Our country has since become an attractive place for investors to locate their factories and export to the rest of the region. Some of these investors have found their way to Iloilo City and parts of Western Visayas,” he said.
The landmark lighting was among the activities lined up to mark the historical milestone of the Asean. Fifty historic landmarks were illuminated in areas that served as venues for the regional bloc's meetings and activities or as hosts of Asean centers and institutions.
Iloilo City hosted the 22nd Senior Officials Meetings for the Asean-Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council and 17th ASCC Meeting on March 6 to 9 and the 3rd Asean Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Good Regulatory Practice Network Meeting on March 14 to 15.
The regional grouping was established through the signing of the Asean Declaration in Bangkok, Thailand on August 8, 1967 by founding fathers Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Other Asean members are Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
It was created to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership.
Prior the switch-on, the City Government also recognized individuals who volunteered during this city’s hosting of Asean meetings.
The activity culminated with the performance of Dinagyang Festival’s Tribu Salognon.
Also attending the activity were assistant regional director Maria Calpiza Sardua of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Western Visayas, Iloilo City DILG director lawyer Ferdinand Panes, representatives of various National Government agencies and employees of the Iloilo City Government. (PNA)