Our President, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., is in attendance to the ASEAN summit being held in Cambodia.

This is a de riguer function that our chief executive needs to attend in order to make contact with his fellow ASEAN leaders, interact with them and plan for the future of the region.

As Ambassador to the US Babes Romualdez would put it: All of these high-level meetings happening in the region revolve around significant issues that have wide reaching global impact while also underscoring ASEAN centrality and its role in promoting multinational relations. More significantly, the series of summits also provides the opportunity for the regional bloc to showcase its ability to convene global leaders to meet and dialogue and bring about a defusion of tensions.

Prominent in the discussions would be the sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID 19, food security, trade and investment, climate change and even the unrest in Myanmar and that of Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden will attend and will give the summit added prestige. Other dialog partners are from Australia, Canada, China, Japan, India, South Korea, United Nations and representatives from the European Union.

PBBM is also expected to attend the APEC conference in Indonesia where the G20 summit is also being held. He has been invited to the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

For sometime now, ASEAN has been the unifying force of nation-members. It provides the avenue for commerce and trade between and among the members like Cambodia which has invited the Philippines to import more rice from it, while the Philippines can export its IT practitioners to that country in order to make it more tech-savvy.

The same is true to other member nations of ASEAN. Each country can give another its products, goods and services in exchange for those unique to the receiving nation.

The lines of communication between member countries should always be open and attended to, especially during emergencies. Most importantly, every ASEAN country should be friendly to all.