Multi-Sectoral Senior Officials Discuss ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework


ASEAN-Philippines Director General and Temporary SOM Leader of the Philippines Junever M. Mahilum-West delivers the Philippine intervention during the video conference on ASEAN’s Comprehensive Recovery Framework on 14 July 2020.

PASAY CITY 15 July 2020 – ASEAN Member States buckled down to start work on an ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework at a Multi-Sectoral Senior Officials’ Discussion held via video conference on 14 July 2020. The Discussion follows an agreement reached by ASEAN Leaders at the 36th ASEAN Summit on 26 June 2020 to begin collective work towards recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

The Philippine delegation, led by Philippine Temporary SOM Leader and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Junever M. Mahilum-West, was composed of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council Leader and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Noel Macalalad, ASEAN Economic Community Council Leader and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty, as well as representatives from National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

The ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, which will be accompanied by an implementation plan, shall be submitted to the ASEAN Leaders at the 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020.

Assistant Secretary Mahilum-West spoke of a whole-of-government, whole-of-society, and whole-of-ASEAN Community approach which should prioritize the people’s welfare. She highlighted the importance of cross-pillar and cross-sectoral coordination, and involving all relevant existing ASEAN mechanisms and stakeholders with the recovery plan. Her comprehensive remarks were cited by the Viet Nam Chair.

Assistant Secretary Mahilum-West underscored continued support for the smooth flow of essential goods and services in the region. She also spoke on the need to continue mitigating public health risks while strengthening economic resilience. She cautioned ASEAN of the continued presence of regional security challenges during the pandemic and the importance of addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges in ASEAN’s recovery framework.

The Philippines emphasized cooperation in ensuring food security and access to vaccines, medicines, and medical supplies. The Philippine delegation also advocated for marginalised and vulnerable groups most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippines agreed with other ASEAN Member States that in this time of pandemic, digital connectivity in the region has now become more significant. The Philippines noted that digitalization can allow for greater people participation and ASEAN must maximize opportunities in the digital economy.

Other points raised by the Philippines included improving regional connectivity, building resilient and sustainable supply chains, enhancing support for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and harnessing the role of women in the recovery. END