Duterte calls on ASEAN leaders to redouble efforts in combating common challenges

Duterte calls on ASEAN leaders to redouble efforts in combating common challenges


Southeast Asia’s leaders must do more to combat terrorism, transnational crimes and illegal drugs, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in late June 2019.

“They divide our communities, destroy families and undermine the growth we fought hard to achieve. Illegal drugs, in particular, corrode the very fabric of our societies,” Duterte, pictured, said during the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit Plenary session in Bangkok, Thailand, according to CNN. “We must redouble our collective efforts to counter these threats effectively and with finality.”

The list of security threats facing ASEAN countries includes extreme weather events, human trafficking and the lack of protections for migrants and other vulnerable populations like those with disabilities.

“It is imperative that we promote and protect their rights, especially those who are vulnerable,” Duterte said, according to CNN. “Let us, therefore, implement more effectively ASEAN instruments that combat human trafficking and promote the rights of migrants and persons with disabilities.”

When it comes to extreme weather events, the ASEAN region contains six of the 20 most at-risk countries, according to CNN. Those countries include Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Natural disasters occur more frequently and at an intensity unseen before — be it typhoon, drought, earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption,” Duterte said, according to CNN. “The cost is horrendous, especially for us in Southeast Asia: Displacement, destruction and death. Real lives hang in the balance.”

He said countries contributing to the extreme environmental trends should be held responsible. He also called on ASEAN member states to adapt by building their resilience and advancing initiatives that care for people and the environment, the Philippine Daily Inquirernewspaper reported.

On the road to achieving that goal, ASEAN leaders launched a satellite warehouse in Thailand’s Chainat province under ASEAN’s Disaster Emergency Logistics System. The warehouse, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, will allow ASEAN’s coordinating centers for humanitarian assistance to strategically deploy relief items to disaster-affected member states.