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Marcos: ASEAN should show commitment to free trade

LABUAN BAJO, Indonesia - President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. called on ASEAN member states on Wednesday to show their commitment to the principle of free trade.
During the plenary session of the 42nd ASEAN Summit, Marcos mentioned the Philippine government's efforts to implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
"ASEAN should demonstrate its commitment to the principle of free trade and to the multilateral trading system. I am pleased to announce that the Philippines has deposited its instrument of ratification for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP agreement," Marcos said.
Marcos is confident that the RCEP will support the integration of small businesses into the international economy.
"We are optimistic that RCEP will serve as an engine of growth that will help build more resilient supply chains to support the integration of micro, medium, and small scale establishments into the global economy," he added. 
Last month, Marcos approved a proposed executive order operationalizing the country's tariff commitments under the RCEP. 
According to National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, this will help advance the administration's efforts "toward achieving deep social and economic change leading to a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient Philippines." 

Meanwhile, Marcos said the Philippines aims to strengthen food security despite global challenges.

"We must ensure that our food and energy systems are resilient in the face of supply and price fluctuations triggered by geopolitical instability and conflict, pandemics, climate change, logistic chain disruptions, and fuel shortages," Marcos said.

"The Philippines aims to strengthen food security and production efficiency [through] the use of new agricultural technologies, upgrading technical and vocational education and training, and adapting climate- and disaster-resilient technologies," he added.

He also emphasized the need for ASEAN to strengthen cross-border connectivity and the interoperability of its digital framework.

"We must forge a vibrant digital economy and ensure that our people are equipped with the digital scales [of] the future so that no one is left behind in the midst of our world's digital transformation," he said. —VBL, GMA Integrated News