PASIG CITY, August 10, 2022— The Department of Education (DepEd) highlighted on Monday the importance of friendship, unity, and culture of its neighboring countries during the celebration of the 55th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Complex.

Spearheaded by the agency’s International Cooperation Office (ICO), the flag raising ceremony was attended by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte and ambassadors and representatives from different embassies in ASEAN region.

“This is a celebration of enduring friendship, cooperation, and unity made stronger in the past 55 years as nations in a region with common pre-colonial history — and today — nations with served, shared dreams and aspirations,” Vice President-Secretary Sara Z. Duterte said in her speech.

“The 10-member ASEAN may be different in more ways than one — from language to faith and beliefs, culture and tradition, food, and maybe politics — but we treated these differences as uniqueness, and this uniqueness allowed us to nurture our respect for and deepen our understanding of each other, foster cooperation in a wide range of areas, and strengthen economic relations and partnerships,” she added.

Secretary Duterte, joined by the ASEAN representatives, also led the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the ASEAN Cultural Exhibition located inside the DepEd Complex.

The exhibition highlights the culture of the countries in ASEAN by displaying traditional clothing, musical instruments, and other educational materials to help raise awareness of the traditions of other countries. The materials displayed were lent by the embassies of ASEAN member states who participated in the exhibition. The exhibition also included items lent by National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

DepEd also recognized the impact of ASEAN to the education sector in the country. Through its partnerships with the member countries, the Department has launched various programs in line with the best practices of each nation.

“Because of ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, are more than just neighboring countries to the Philippines, they became our allies and friends. Together, we shared the common goal of prosperity and stability for our countries and for Southeast Asia,” Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs and Partnerships Gerard Chan said in his opening remarks.

“Our learners, our teaching and non-teaching personnel, and our schools greatly benefit from the various partnerships and initiatives brought by the collaboration of the ASEAN member countries,” he added.

Meanwhile, DepEd sealed its continuous support and partnership with its neighboring nations with the traditional ASEAN handshake.