• Melo Acuna

Multilateralism, key to development

President Duterte says multilateralism is required to meet headwinds

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte called on his fellow leaders at ASEAN to strengthen multilateralism among countries to address a horde of issues including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the increasing geopolitical tension.

During his intervention at the virtual 15th East Asia Summit yesterday, he said countries must act with “a greater sense of shared responsibility and common destiny.”

“The way forward is enhanced multilateralism,” he said. He added different leaders may differ in national priorities but expressed optimism there are enough fundamental interests to unite everyone into action.

President Duterte said nations want sustained and inclusive growth and the ought to reopen their economies at the same time containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

He explained countries must work together to ensure that everyone can have access to safe and affordable vaccines.

He added COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic as he underscored the need for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asian countries to create am early warning system to contain future similar events.

“We seek support from our partners for the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases and the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies,” President Duterte added as he pushed for the regional economic integration because it brings “the most benefit to the greatest number of people.”

He said he looks forward to the conclusion and swift implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). He also called for enhanced cooperation in promoting and protecting the rights of migrant workers regardless of their status.

President Duterte renewed his call for countries to further intensity their efforts in achieving sustainable and resilient communities by way of fighting climate change.

With the international community marking the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Filipino leader called on ASEAN’s partners to recommit themselves to climate action and lead towards net zero emissions.

He also highlighted the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.

He explained there must be open and inclusive regional architecture where ASEAN plays a central role, adding Asia Pacific must remain a region of peace and where the rule of law is supreme. (Melo M. Acuña)

President Rodrigo Duterte delivering his intervention at the 15th East Asia Summit yesterday. (PCOO Photo)

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