COTABATO CITY August 11, (PIA)—With the motto of “One Vision, One Identity, and One Community,” the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrates its 50th Anniversary celebration with the Philippines hosting the significant event.
Part of the celebration is the simultaneous Lighting of ASEAN Landmark in 50 identified areas across the country, one of which was Cotabato City.
The old Cotabato City Hall which was turned into a museum served as the site of the Lighting Ceremony of the ASEAN emblem at 6:30 p.m., which was witnessed by government employees, police and military officials, civic leaders and city officials led by Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.
Mayor Sayadi in her message expressed gratitude for the honor and opportunity to have been chosen as one of areas to participate in the Lighting of ASEAN Landmark as part of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.
“The people of Cotabato City should be proud because we were chosen from among 145 cities in the entire country to join the simultaneous lighting of the ASEAN lantern,” she said.
She said, the Ceremonial Lantern which would reflect the richness in the region’s diversity is inspired from a famous Filipino Christmas ornament called ‘Parol’ a star-shaped ornament traditionally made out of bamboo sticks and bears a variety of colors designed with elements common in the ASEAN member states.
Sayadi stressed the significance and advantages of an integrated economic community that would benefit member-nations..
“The purpose of establishing an integrated economic community is to accelerate economic growth, enhance trade development in the region and allow freer movement of goods, services skilled-labor and capital. Cotabato City must develop its human capital and work force skills while addressing income inequality and gender inequality in order for us to become more competitive in a wide range of sectors and industries.We must invest in institutions, infrastructure, education, on the job trainings and the modernization of government operations,” Sayadi said.
The mayor emphasized the need for the local government to review their programs and policies to level up and not to be left behind in the economic integration. With this goal at hand, Cotabato City will now embark on a multi-million computerization of its operation to keep up with the economic growth she said.
The city government is embarking on a multi-million computerization for operation, this is just one of our so-called level up strategies.Aside from this, we are also aiming to become as the “Halal Hub” of the Philippines.
The city government, Sayadi said, has already submitted a request to President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Cotabato City as a free port together with the establishment of an export processing zone adding that work will start in a couple of months for the construction of a cargo and passenger port near the Timako hill at Barangay Kalanganan Mother.
“I have a strong confidence and optimism on the talent, perseverance and determination of the people of Cotabato City. I know that we have no choice but to level up and move forward and I’m also aiming for Cotabato City to become a smart city just like our sister city which is Bandong, Indonesia. Few years from now we will be a smart city and mark my word,“ she said.
As this developed, Sayadi appealed to the local officials to cooperate and unite as one and be guided by the motto of ASEAN.
“I know also that most people here are expecting so much from us that’s why to the officials I appeal to all of you for cooperation, for unity in the face of all these adversaries. So as we commemorate the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN, let us all further strengthen our bonds and cooperation as Cotabateños so that we would be part with our ASEAN brothers, let us be guided by the motto of ASEAN, of “One Vision, One Identity, and One Community.” Sayadi added.(LTOBolongon/PBChangco-PIA Cotabato City)