Latest News for Philippine Defense

Duterte says 31st ASEAN Summit a big success

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in Manila as a big success and passed on the chairmanship of the regional bloc to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“It was an honor having fruitful and productive exchanges with you on issues of regional and global importance which we hope to translate into concrete actions that would benefit the peoples of our region,” President Duterte said in his speech at the closing ceremonies at the Philippine International Convention Center.

President Duterte handed over the gavel symbolizing the ASEAN Chairmanship to Lee.

He assured ASEAN member-states that the Philippines would remain steadfast in upholding the ideals and values that the ASEAN holds dear and in working for the realization of the shared aspirations of other nations.

“We remain committed to building a strong and resilient ASEAN Community,” Duterte said. “Our next 50 years will require deeper efforts on the next 3Cs: Community, Centrality, and Connectivity if we are to realize our ASEAN Vision by the year 2025.”

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) links hands with ASEAN Leaders during their Summit in Manila. Malacanang Photo

The Chief Executive said the Philippines had adopted some declarations, statements, and action plans across the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, and on ASEAN’s relations with Dialogue Partners.

One of these, he said, is the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers which was signed by member-states at the end of the summit.

He then presented to ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh the adopted consensus document.

“This historic governmental document is our promise to our people to strengthen social protection, access to justice, humane and fair treatment, and access to health services, among others,” he said.

The President reported that the ASEAN held successive summits with its Dialogue Partners as well as the ASEAN-led mechanisms — the ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asia Summit, noting the importance of cooperation in addressing issues that affect the peace, security, and prosperity of the region.

As chair and host of the first meeting of the Leaders of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), he expressed his resolve to realize a substantial conclusion of negotiations on the economic instrument.

On security, the President said the issue of terrorism topped the agenda of the talks with ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners.

“Half of the time during the interventions actually was the issue of terrorism. Everybody’s scared with the new vogue of dying just suddenly in the explosion of any… whatever,” he said. “We vowed to work closely. We discussed it in confidential meetings. We have agreed on so many things to enhance the defense of our country.”

Duterte said the attack in Marawi City by the ISIS-linked Maute group reminded the people of the risks each country face. He said ASEAN leaders cited the heroism of Filipino soldiers in retaking the city and defeating the terrorists.

Duterte said the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula was also a hot topic, particularly in the discussions with China and the US. He said the region cannot afford to ignite a very disastrous war.

At the same time, Duterte said ASEAN had become one of the most successful regional organizations in the world because of shared commitment by member-states, various stakeholders, and the international community to make it relevant.

He also said the Philippines was pleased with the results of the summit and related meetings even as he thanked the participants for experiencing Filipino hospitality.

“The Philippines will be there with you and will be working with you, with the other ASEAN Member States, Dialogue Partners, and external parties in moving ASEAN community towards building forward,” Duterte said.

“We hope that you have taken with you the warmth of Filipino hospitality and the genuine care and affection that we give to our guests,” he added.

With the success of the ASEAN summit, Duterte announced that the country would also host the 51st Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting in May 2018 to enhance economic linkages in the region and beyond.#