H.E. Ambassador Raul S.Hernandez represents the Philippines at the 1st ASEAN-ROK Infrastructure Ministers' Meeting that was held on 17 September 2018 at the COEX Intercontinental Hotel in Seoul.
The Opening Ceremony of the Ministerial Meeting commenced with remarks by the Honorable Kim Hyun Mee, ROK's Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT). Minister Kim underscored that ROK will work closely with ASEAN as it pursues the goal of a future oriented economic community that places importance on people-shared growth and enhancing infrastructure connectivity. Minister Kim also conveyed the Korean government's commitment to elevating its relations with ASEAN to a higher level through the New Southern Policy.
The Opening Ceremony was followed by the Ministerial Session which featured the theme "Smart Infrastructure Construction Strategy for ROK-ASEAN Mutual Prosperity."
Pursuant to theme, Ambassador Hernandez delivered a statement on behalf of the Secretary of Transport and Infrastructure Cluster of the Philippine government which expounded on the Philippines' infrastructure development plans and highlighted the various infrastructure projects and initiatives of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through the bold and massive "Build, Build, Build" Infrastructure Program which is envisioned to turn things around for the country in the next few years.
Ambassador Hernandez also cited large scale infrastructure projects in the various stages of implementation in the Philippines' transportation sector, such as the opening of the Philippines' first landmark international eco-airport in October, the opening of the first barge terminal in the Philippines, the construction of the Philippines' first subway system in partnership with Japan, and the completion of the newly built world-class passenger terminal in Palawan which was undertaken in partnership with ROK. He also highlighted the completion of 137 commercial port projects, eight social tourism port projects and plan to extend railway systems to northern and southern Luzon all the way to the land of promise, Mindanao.
The ministerial meeting concluded with the adoption of a ministerial declaration by the Ministers/Heads of Delegations of ASEAN member states and ROK. In the ministerial declaration, all parties recognized that having an efficient and systematic approach to infrastructure development would be critical in achieving shared prosperity through improved connectivity in ASEAN. The parties also affirmed their commitment to pursue cooperation in sustainable urbanization and smart cities, including through the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), that integrate technological advancements made in transport, green energy, environment, and ICT.
As an initial step for pragmatic and substantive cooperation on sustainable infrastructure, all parties agreed on 20 "Key Cooperation Areas" and the importance of regular exchanges between ASEAN Member States and ROK at different levels of government and across sectors, including through existing platforms, to promote cooperation in the field of transportation.
For the Philippines, two cooperative projects will be undertaken with Korea which pertain to the establishment of a Public Transport Information Management Center (PTIMC) and new airport development in Dumaguete.
The inaugural ASEAN-ROK Infrastructure Ministers' Meeting was co-hosted by ROK's MOLIT and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).