Ex­trem­ism, drug prob­lem, piracy is cen­ter stage in Asean

Sun.Star Baguio - - THE NATION -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte on Mon­day sees the need to high­light the grow­ing prob­lem of ex­trem­ism, nar­cotics trade, and piracy dur­ing the two­day meet­ing of South­east Asian lead­ers and their di­a­logue part­ners that will be held in Manila.

At the open­ing rites of 31st As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian sum­mit, Duterte ac­knowl­edged the im­por­tance to dis­cuss with world lead­ers the press­ing se­cu­rity is­sues that dif­fer­ent na­tions are fac­ing.

"Your Majesty, your Ex­cel­len­cies, ladies and gentle­men, I apol­o­gize for set­ting the tone of my state­ment in such a man­ner. But I only want to em­pha­size that our meet­ings for the next two days present an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for us to en­gage in mean­ing­ful dis­uc­s­sion on mat­ters of re­gional and in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance," the Pres­i­dent said be­fore the heads of state.

Duterte urged heads of state to seek for re­me­dial ways to counter se­cu­rity threats that pose dan­gers, if not ad­dressed.

Duterte stressed that ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism "en­dan­ger the peace, sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity of our re­gion be­cause these threats know no bound­aries."

It could be re­called that on May 23, Is­lamic State-linked Maute mil­i­tants laid siege to Marawi City in a bid to es­tab­lish a caliphate for South­east Asia fight­ers.

The ex­trem­ist group's plan was how­ever foiled af­ter the Philip­pines state forces killed in­fa­mous ter­ror lead­ers Is­nilon Hapi­lon and Omar Maute, the fron­trun­ners of Marawi siege.

A month be­fore the Asean sum­mit, Duterte de­clared the lib­er­a­tion of Marawi City from the hands of the ter­ror­ists fol­low­ing the death of Hapi­lon and Maute.

In his speech, Duterte per­son­ally thanked Asean mem­ber-states and other world lead­ers who ex­tended as­sis­tance to the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment to com­bat ter­ror­ism in the south­ern Philip­pines.

"Less than a month ago, Philip­pine gov­ern­ment forces lib­er­ated the city of Marawi from ter­ror­ist groups who pledged al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State," the Pres­i­dent said.

"We thank our in­ter­na­tional part­ners for pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance in deal­ing with the sit­u­a­tion in Marawi City. Our Asean broth­ers pro­vided sup­port by send­ing re­lief items for the ben­e­fit of the in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons while oth­ers pro­vided valu­a­bale as­sis­tance and bol­stered our mil­i­tary cam­paign," he said.

Duterte, who con­tin­ues to push for re­lent­less cam­paign against nar­cotics trade de­spite global crit­i­cisms, said that drug men­ace "con­tin­ues to en­dan­ger the very fab­ric of our so­ci­eties."

He added that piracy and armed rob­bery in the seas "put a dent on our the growth and dis­rupt the sta­bil­ity of both re­gional and global com­merce."

"These and other is­sues are high on the agenda of our meet­ings, along with the other non-tra­di­tional se­cu­rity is­sues that chal­lenge the pros­per­ity of our economies, the in­te­girty of our in­sti­tu­tions, and more im­por­tantly, the safety of our peo­ple," Duterte said. (SunStar Philip­pines/Ruth Abbey Gita)

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