Philippines vows support for multilateralism, global fight vs COVID-19
MANILA – The Philippines took part in the 11th ASEAN-UN Summit and 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) summit held via video conference yesterday, the last day of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
In a statement from the Office of the President, it was learned the country reiterated its commitment to multilateralism and the primacy of international law in inter-state relations at the 11th ASEAN-UN Summit.
The intervention was delivered by Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. because President Rodrigo Duterte had to leave for Tuguegarao, Cagayan and Naga City in Camarines Sur.
“Now more than ever, we need effective multilateralism to address global challenges, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Philippines is convinced that ASEAN and the UN are well-positioned to respond to this need,” Secretary Locsin said reading from the Philippines statement.
The Philippines has expressed support for the UN secretary-General’s appeal for intensified cooperation in the global fight vs COVID-19 through the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
The Philippines said that “it is clear by now that this pandemic puts all of us in one boat”, underscoring the need for fair and easy access to safe COVId-19 vaccines and treatments for all countries.
The Philippine has called for enhanced action to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers’ rights who “play critical roles in the fight against COVID-19” and, at the same time, “disproportionately affected by this crisis.”
On regional security issues, the Philippines reiterated the great importance it attaches to “the primacy of international law in inter-state relations, including in managing and resolving disputes such as those in the South China Sea”.
It referred to the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea as an authoritative interpretation of the application of UNCLOS that “no country, however powerful, can willfully ignore or asperse.”
It was Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez who signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, said to be the “most comprehensive, high-quality, and modern free trade agreement ASEAN has entered into”.
Secretary Lopez said RCEP is a major milestone towards greater economic integration, recovery, and prosperity.
“It will spur investments, boost job generation, and improve standards of living in the region. More importantly, the Agreement will restore business confidence amid the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Philippine statement said.
The 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits closed with the turnover of the ASEAN Chairmanship from Viet Nam to Brunei Darussalam. (Melo M. Acuña)
Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., delivering his intervention before the most recent ASEAN Summit. (PNA).