- President Rodrigo Duterte is currently in Laos for the 29th ASEAN Summit, where he is joined by leaders of other member-states for a three-day conference
- The iron-fisted president was one of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit’s speakers, where he spoke about the ASEAN's need to have a ‘stronger resolve and action to combat transnational crime’
- Aside from a stronger commitment to wipe out crime, Duterte also gave four other reasons on how the regional bloc can truly become a global player
The fight against drugs should not stop in the Philippines – but should be also tackled by member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
President Rodrigo Duterte told senior business leaders during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit that aside from the narcotics trade, the regional organization should also eradicate terrorism and cross-border-related crimes to guarantee their development.
“The trade (in) illegal drugs, in particular, has emerged as a pressing problem for our countries, undermining social cohesion and the rule of law and socio-economic program of a country,” he said.
The tough-talking president, who read the prepared speech on Tuesday night, also stressed the importance of heightened cooperation in eliminating large-scale crimes.
“ASEAN needs stronger resolve and action to combat transnational crime, one of the most difficult and complex problems that we face in the region and a pressing concern for the Philippines.”
(photo credit: globalnation.inquirer.net)
He added that the move will empower the organization to ‘confidently play its rightful role as a player contributing to the economic growth and prosperity.’
Duterte considered terrorism as a factor that will hinder a nation’s economic progress.
To combat the on-going problem, he said that the collaboration of ASEAN’s 10 members will ‘ensure that the economic gains we made so far will advance at full speed.’
The Philippine president has been under fire for his intensifying campaign against drugs, which has resulted in extrajudicial killings and violation of human rights.
“We shall not be cowed. We will press on. We must redouble our efforts to concentrate on intelligence gathering, prevention, interdiction, arrest and prosecution,” he said.
Despite the accusations heaped on him, he reiterated that he put ‘great importance on how laws are crafted and implemented to bring good governance and order.’
He added that a country’s legal system should be able to ‘provide an enabling environment for the country’s progress and prosperity.’
In his seven-minute speech, Duterte also addressed four other factors that the organization should accomplish in order for it to become a global player.
The first was the effective implementation of previous agreements, which had been drafted since its founding in 1967. An example is the enhanced economic integration between its member-states.
(photo credit: nationmultimedia.com)
“It certainly took an immense amount of effort and compromise as member states shared their commitment and political resolve to accommodate and reconcile national interest with the regional aspiration of one nation ASEAN community,” he started, “On the part of the Philippines, our economic focus will be toward the promotion of inclusive growth through innovation in four areas—micro, small and medium enterprises, e-commerce, youth and women entrepreneurship.”
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The second was that the region should work for ‘faster growth and integration’ through their sub-regional cooperation frameworks – the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS), the Indonesia-Malaysia- Thailand Growth Triangle, and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
“Hailing from Mindanao, I commit to promote BIMP-EAGA. We intend to open up our other major islands like Mindanao and the Visayas with high-quality backbone infrastructure,” he added.
He noted that he would expedite government spending on public infrastructures such as national roads and bridges, such as the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network.
Inter-island linkages will also be covered in this improvement, as the roll-on, roll-off sea ferries will expand to have a Davao-General Santos to Bitung, Indonesia route in the future.
The third important factor was regional development should cover micro, small, and medium enterprises and all of the organization’s ten members should ‘look for [all] ways to connect them in the countries of the ASEAN and the world.’
Lastly, he insisted that his audience should take on a more dynamic role in regional development and work with their fellow members ‘in a robust way in economic sphere.’