Duterte cites need for co­op­er­a­tion vs drugs, ter­ror­ism, ex­trem­ism

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS and ROY C. MABASA

Pres­i­dent Duterte on Tues­day stressed the need to ad­dress re­gional se­cu­rity is­sues and high­lighted that mar­itime con­cern as a new area of co­op­er­a­tion in South­east and East Asia.

He ex­pressed these con­cerns dur­ing 12th East Asia Sum­mit (EAS) in Pasay City on Tues­day.

“The Pres­i­dent stressed the need for co­op­er­a­tion in ad­dress­ing re­gional se­cu­rity is­sues, es­pe­cially the men­ace of il­le­gal drugs, ter­ror­ism, vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism, and hu­man traf­fick­ing ,” Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Harry Roque said.

“He said bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion among ASEAN (As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions) mem­ber-states could pre­vent the Is­lamic State from gain­ing foothold in the re­gion,” he added.

Duterte took note of the threat of ter­ror­ism and how it was able to cross bor­ders.

“We have also been made painfully aware that ter­ror­ism knows no bor­ders and that vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists are be­com­ing more adept at ex­ploit­ing power vac­u­ums, in­sta­bil­ity and dis­con­tent to spread their nar­ra­tive ha­tred and de­struc­tion, ”the Philippine leader said.

UN sup­port vs ex­trem­ism Ear­lier on Mon­day night, the United Na­tions (UN) ex­pressed its readi­ness to pro­vide help to the ASEAN in the fight against ter­ror­ism and other transna­tional crimes, in­clud­ing il­le­gal drugs and hu­man traf­fick­ing, through poli­cies that are able to pro­tect their cit­i­zens with “ef­fec­tive law en­force­ment and re­spect for hu­man rights.”

UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral An­to­nio Gut err es stressed this of­fer at the ASEAN UN Sum­mit Mon­day night, even as he re­peated his con­cern over the threat of global ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism, in­clud­ing in the ASEAN re­gion.

“The United Na­tions stands ready to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port to ASEAN and its mem­ber coun­tries in their ef­forts to counter ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism, and to com­bat transna­tional crime, in­clud­ing drug traf­fick­ing and peo­ple traf­fick­ing, through poli­cies able to pro­tect their cit­i­zens with ef­fec­tive law en­force­ment and re­spect for hu­man rights,” Guter­res said in his open­ing state­ment.

The UN chief also wel­comed the adop­tion of the Manila Dec­la­ra­tion to Counter the Rise of Rad­i­cal­iza­tion and Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism, and its recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of the 11th ASEAN Min­is­te­rial Meet­ing on Transna­tional Crime (AMMTC) held in Manila on Septem­ber 20, 2017.

Not­ing the re­cent ter­ror in­ci­dent in the Philip­pines, Guter­res said, “I am heart­ened by the re­cent lib­er­a­tion of Marawi from ISIS.”

Fur­ther­more, he made men­tion of the tri­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion meet­ing on ter­ror­ism and transna­tional crimes be­tween the Philip­pines, Indonesia and Malaysia that will “strengthen re­gional peace and se­cu­rity.”

Eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion

Ac­cord­ing to Roque, Duterte also saw the im­por­tance of pro­mot­ing in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment to fa­cil­i­tate trade, in­vest­ment, and ser­vice com­pet­i­tive­ness as he cited the Philip­pines’ Build-Build-Build In­fra­struc­ture Plan.

Pres­i­dent Duterte also made men­tion of ASEAN’s re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, say­ing eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment is the key driver to­ward re­gional growth.

“He [Duterte] said ASEAN mem­ber­states and their part­ners con­tinue to re­al­ize the im­por­tant po­ten­tials of mi­cro, small, and medium en­ter­prises,” Roque said.

But United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was not to present to air his views on the in­ter­na­tional is­sues dis­cussed dur­ing the EAS. US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son at­tended the EAS on Trump’s be­half.

Roque said Trump was not able to at­tend the sum­mit due to the de­lays in the pro­gram and due to his sched­uled flight back to the US.

“EAS was sup­posed to be at 1:30 [p.m]. I be­lieve he was [sched­uled] to leave at 3 [p.m.] and did so,”Roque said in a state­ment.

In a viber mes­sage to re­porters, US em­bassy Press At­tache Molly Koscina said Pres­i­dent Trump was able to present his remarks when all the lead­ers at­tend­ing the East Asia Sum­mit (EAS) were hav­ing lunch. En­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion Roque, in an­other state­ment, said Duterte, as chair of the ASEAN-EAS, cited the ef­fects of mi­gra­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, and armed con­flict in the re­gion.

While the sum­mit was on­go­ing, hun­dreds of en­vi­ron­ment ad­vo­cates and mem­bers of peo­ple’s move­ments marched to de­nounce the US- and East Asia-led coal push in South­east Asia.

“Coal has no place in a re­gion like South­east Asia,” said San­lakas sec­re­tary-gen­eral Aaron Pe­drosa.

“US and East Asian coal com­pa­nies, rep­re­sented by their re­spec­tive na­tion’s lead­ers, are rid­ing on the ASEAN drive to fur­ther ex­pand the re­gion’s econ­omy by ped­dling coal-sourced power as the fuel for South­east Asia’s eco­nomic growth. Far from be­ing a tool of de­vel­op­ment, coal ex­pan­sion within the re­gion en­sures profit only for the few coal com­pa­nies, and spells death and de­struc­tion for the peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­ment of the re­gion’s nu­mer­ous cli­mate-vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries,” added Pe­drosa.

Among the other is­sues dis­cussed dur­ing the EAS were the im­pact of cli­mate change and the spread of ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism.

“PRRD like­wise dis­cussed the East Asia Sum­mit with ASEAN as a mech­a­nism by which strate­gic di­a­logues and co­op­er­a­tion could be es­tab­lished at the high­est level,”Roque said.

Dur­ing his open­ing remarks, Duterte said the meet­ing would in­clude the re­view and fu­ture di­rec­tion of the EAS.

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