ASEAN Summit opens, tackles security

President Rodrigo Duterte (on stage) delivers his opening remarks at the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (PTV video grab)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, November 13, formally opened the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits, where regional and international security are the main agenda.

“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 integrity of our institutions, and more importantly, the safety of our people,” said Duterte.

Duterte warned that extremism and other non-traditional security issues would “put a dent” in growth and disrupt the stability of global and regional commerce.

Duterte also announced that ASEAN member states have come to an agreement on the protection and promotion of rights of migrant workers.

“I will be joining other ASEAN leaders tomorrow in signing this landmark document that will strengthen social protection, access to justice, humane and fair treatment,” he said.

“Other deliverables that will see the fruition include those concerning health, women and the youth, terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism, trafficking, poverty alleviation, food security, coastal and marine environment, and the pursuit of innovation for our economies, among others,” said Duterte.

Meanwhile, Duterte thanked ASEAN countries and dialogue partners for helping the communities affected by the Marawi crisis.

“Our ASEAN brothers provided support by sending relief items for the benefit of the internally displaced persons while others provided valuable assistance and bolstered our military campaign,” he said.

During the ASEAN Summit Plenary, Duterte noted the efforts and the work of the sectorial bodies and organs of the Association to fully and effectively implement the ASEAN Political Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprints for 2025.

“Today, we continue our discussions on how to further consolidate our efforts and our shared aspirations toward an ASEAN Community that is truly rules-based, people-oriented, and people-centered,” he said.

“Moving forward to ensure the ASEAN’s viability, a new set of three C’s — community, centrality, and connectivity — will define the work and effort needed to ensure the success of our community-building process and our interaction with external partners,” Duterte said.