Tuesday, November 14, 2017

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte brought to the fore regional security issues such as terrorism and drug trafficking as he formally opened the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit yesterday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.

The Philippines chairs the 2017 conference of Southeast Asian leaders and dialogue partners.

Duterte said the meetings in the days ahead would give an “excellent opportunity” to discuss matters of common importance.

“Terrorism and violent extremism endanger the peace, stability and security of our region because these threats know no boundaries,” he said.

“Piracy and armed robbery in the seas put a dent on our growth and disrupt the stability of both regional and global commerce,” he added. “The menace of illegal drug trade continues to endanger the very fabric of our societies.”

The Philippine president also mentioned the five-month war against Islamic State-allied extremists in Marawi City.

Life in Marawi and other affected areas in Mindanao was beginning to get back to normal, Duterte noted.

“We thank our international partners for providing assistance in dealing with the situation in Marawi City,” he said.

“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,” said Duterte.

The Summit will also cover health, women and the youth, terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism, trafficking, poverty alleviation, food security, coastal and marine environment, and innovation./PN


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