Press Statement of DILG OIC Catalino S. Cuy, AMMTC LEADER-PHILS on the 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime

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Distinguished members of the media, good noon to all of you!

First of all, on behalf of the ASEAN ministers, I would like to thank all of you for coming here today and for providing relevant media exposure to this four-day 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime and 2nd Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism.

Yesterday, we had a very productive day starting with the meeting of the 14th Working Group on Counter-Terrorism which thoroughly discussed and reviewed important documents such as the ASEAN Plan of Action on Counter-Terrorism as well as the Manila Declaration to Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism.

There were also several preparatory meetings conducted yesterday in support of today’s event.  Among those discussed is the ASEAN Trust Fund to Support Emergency Humanitarian and Relief Effort in the Event of Irregular Movement of Persons in Southeast Asia.   At present, the trust fund has accumulated $900,000, $450,000 of which is already deposited in the bank while the rest is composed of pledges from different member-countries.  The Philippines itself pledged $100,000 to the trust fund.

During the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), two SOMTC  working groups were likewise considered and approved.  The first is the SOMTC Working Group on Arms Smuggling as proposed by Cambodia, and the Second is the SOMTC WG on Illicit Trafficking of Wildlife and Timber as proposed by Thailand.  This only goes to show that the ASEAN takes cognizance of emerging concerns and threats that require concerted action from the regional body.

This morning, we had a very productive 2nd Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism.

As we all know, radicalization and violent extremism are huge challenges that threaten regional and global peace and order and security.

The meeting provided an opportunity for ASEAN member countries to share the views and experiences of their respective countries in dealing with radicalization and violent extremism as well as the rehabilitation aspect of these issues.

At the end of the meeting, we committed to further intensify our efforts and strategies to counter these threats through the conduct of regular regional dialogues and consultations, exchange of intelligence information and resources, establishing joint operations, and engaging regional partners in capacity building programs.

But more than these, we should be able to promote or encourage respect and tolerance of ideological differences in schools and the social media, among others, with greater focus on the youth and women.

Tomorrow will be another big day as we will convene the highlight of this four-day activity which is the 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime.   Up for consideration and adoption tomorrow by the Ministers are the following AMMTC documents: Bohol TIP Work Plan and the ASEAN Declaration to Combat Cybercrime, among others.

Ladies and gentlemen from the media, what is evident is that the ASEAN is further strengthening its cooperation and strategies to combat regional concerns.  We acknowledge that there is strength in numbers, there is strength in collaboration.  We will continue working together as one ASEAN to promote regional peace, security, and stability.

Thank you very much for joining us today.

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