DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 Sept) — President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to seek “better support to address terrorism and violent extremism” during his first meeting with foreign leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) and its dialogue partners this week.
“We remain firm in our resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” Duterte said in a statement he read before departing for Vientiane, Laos on Monday afternoon.
He said he will discuss with ASEAN leaders and the region’s dialogue partners such as Australia, China, India, japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States regional and international issues that “impact on peace, security, stability, and prosperity.”
He said recent events ”have shown that there are elements out there who seek to sow terror and wreak havoc in our society,” apparently referring to Friday’s blast along Roxas Avenue where 14 people were killed and 70 others were injured.
“We remain committed to our duty to protect our citizens, I ask every Filipino to do his and her part for the sake of the country,” he said.
Duterte said he would take the opportunity at the ASEAN Summits to seek better regional support to address terrorism and extreme violent extremism that he said is a global concern that the a small country like Philippines must help address.
“Terrorism and violent extremism is a global concern, and the Philippines will do its part as a member of the international community,” he said. “He said security in the region hinders the cooperation of the ASEAN region member states as well as the dialogue partners,” he added.
Known for his anti-drugs campaign, Duterte said he will call on state leaders to renew cooperation for a drug-free ASEAN community.
The President said the ASEAN meet will be an “excellent opportunity to underscore the importance of the rule of law and peaceful settlement of disputes.”
“The interest of our people are at the heart of the ASEAN community building. And we shall work with our neighbors in addressing transnational issues such as trafficking of persons and terrorism and violent extremism,” he said.
On economic side, he said he wants to discuss how to make a more inclusive economy that would benefit more Filipino citizens by increasing connectivity in the region, improving trade, highlighting the importance of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and conserving and sustaining the environment.
He also said he will engage ASEAN neighbors on upholding the rights of migrant workers and pushing for capacity-building to improve disaster response management.
Duterte will receive the chairmanship from Laos to host ASEAN summits in 2017, the 50th anniversary of the association next year. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)