President Duterte sought stronger international cooperation to effectively combat terrorism, sea piracy, and illegal drug trade that pose dangers to regional peace and prosperity at the opening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Meetings yesterday in Pasay City.
Duterte placed such security threats high on the agenda of the regional talks and offered apology for doing so.
“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 discussion on matters of regional and international importance,” the President said in his remarks.
“For example, terrorism and violent extremism endanger the peace, stability, and security of our region because these threats know no boundaries,” he added.
Duterte warned that piracy and armed robbery in the seas have placed “a dent on our growth and disrupt the stability of both regional and global commerce.”
The menace of illegal drug trade also continues “to endanger the very fabric of our societies,” according to Duterte, who has launched a controversial drug crackdown marred by alleged rights abuses.
“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,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)