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Duterte raises threat of drugs in forum

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – President Duterte has raised the threat of illegal drugs and how important it is to purge the illegal drugs trade to protect the youth.

Duterte, in his speech during the Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum here yesterday, said member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should do its best to curb illegal drugs.

“But we cannot turn a blind eye on the scourge of illegal drugs that threatens our youth and the future of our societies,” Duterte said as he referred to the ASEAN youth as the best and the brightest. “We need to take a committed stand to dismantle and destroy the illegal drugs trade apparatus,” he said.

“We must reaffirm our commitment to realize a drug-free ASEAN community,” Duterte added.

According to Duterte, the youth is a key sector that ASEAN member-states must invest in, especially with the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2016-2020 which encourages youth entrepreneurship, employment and employability, awareness, volunteerism, and resilience.

“The plan deserves our full support. The ASEAN youth are among the best and most creative, intelligent, and innovative in the world. We must empower them to be the best version of themselves,” he said.

Duterte, being this year’s ASEAN chairman, also said that despite the many achievements of the region, there is still more that needs to be done.

According to Duterte, ASEAN continues to face many challenges, including integration and connectivity which needs to be ramped up; technological changes that impact on work force and trade and investment; and capital flows.

He also said that transnational crimes continue to threaten to undermine economic progress; and that development gaps threaten to hold the region back from achieving the inclusive growth for its peoples.

“We cannot stand by and let these challenges hold us back from achieving the future of our people, which deserve the change,” he said. (Argyll Cyrus B. Gecudos)