PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has urged leaders of Southeast Asian nations attending a summit in Laos to boost their solidarity against transnational crime.
In his speech, the Philippine president stressed the need for “stronger resolve and action” to combat transnational crime, which he described as “one of the most difficult and complex problems in the region and a pressing concern for the Philippines.”
Duterte said that his effort will exert best efforts in boosting intelligence gathering, prevention, interdiction, arrest, and prosecution which he stressed should be redoubled amid the recent bombing incident in Davao City.
“We shall not be cowed, we will press on,” he said.
“We must act together, in concert, to ensure economic gains we made so far will advance at full speed so that ASEAN can confidently play its rightful role as a global player contributing to the economic growth and prosperity,” he added.
Duterte also reiterated plans to accelerate infrastructure spending by improving national road and bridges in Visayas and Mindanao as well as provide support for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
The President pushed for greater ASEAN unity on the successful first day session of the 2016 ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos.
Among the issues that ASEAN members share in common is the need to streamline ASEAN processes, to make the region drug-free, to thwart human trafficking, to improve rights of migrant workers, to have better access to health and education, and to ensure economic growth inclusive to all.
In the pipeline are high-impact plans and programs such as a Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, the ASEAN Infrastructure Plan, and the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, reports said.
ASEAN is projecting itself as a single tourism destination and is responding to disasters as one region.
The 2016 ASEAN Summit is the first of such gatherings of Southeast Asian leaders after the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in December 2015.