WATCH: Duterte launches ASEAN 2017 in Davao City

President Rodrigo Duterte kicks off the Philippines' chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from his hometown of Davao City, officially beginning year-long events and activities.

Duterte promises a stronger ASEAN.

Pia Ranada reports. – Rappler.com

Music and dancing erupt in this mall in Davao City, attracting the curiosity of those doing their Sunday shopping.

The surprise cultural performance is an enlivening start to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 2017 launch.

This year, the Philippines assumes chairmanship of the 10-member regional bloc. 

President Rodrigo Duterte, as the country's leader, promises a stronger ASEAN in 2017.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: I say to you today in full humility: the Philippines – as ASEAN Chair - will remain steadfast in upholding the ideals and values we hold dear and in working for the realization of our shared aspirations. We are committed to the building of a strong and resilient ASEAN Community.

He emphasizes that the ASEAN must focus on improving lives of Southeast Asians.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: For an ASEAN citizen, the ASEAN Community must provide opportunities for a truly better life. This is a life that has broken the bonds of dependence and ignorance. This is a life that has given opportunities for self-improvement. This is a life that is provided by a society transformed and reformed.

During the launch, the Philippine government unveils the ASEAN 2017 commemorative coin and commemorative stamp.

With the kickstarting of ASEAN 2017, the Philippines prepares for year-long events and activities that hope to knit the 10 Southeast Asian nations even closer together in the face of common threats and opportunities.

Pia Ranada, Rappler, Davao City.