Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the World Economic Forum in Phnom Penh.


President bats for drug-free Southeast Asian region in speech in world forum


PHNOM PENH – President Rodrigo Duterte has pushed for a drug-free Southeast Asia, saying that such an environment is needed for the sustained growth of the region.

In a speech on Thursday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Duterte defended his administration’s war against illegal drugs as he pointed out that threat to society posed by an unabated drug trade is real.

“We cannot turn a blind eye on the scourge of illegal drugs that threatens our youth and the future of our societies. We need to take a committed stand to dismantle and destroy the illegal drug trade apparatus. We must reaffirm our commitment to realize a drug-free ASEAN community,” Duterte told the forum participants.

Duterte was one of the heads of state who addressed the forum that has gathered over 700 participants from 40 countries and 450 business leaders from 15 sectors. Aside from Duterte, the other speakers were Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Meanwhile, Duterte gave credit to ASEAN for heeding “the call for unity and acted with dedication, determination and foresight for the sake of the region.”

“Five decades hence, ASEAN has a compelling narrative (for) our world. ASEAN is now closer to achieving ‘One Vision, One Identity and One Community.’ But the ASEAN story does not end here. This is a continuing tale that we must shape and build for the interest of our peoples,” he said.

The Philippines is this year’s chair of the ASEAN summit. A conference of ASEAN heads of state was held in Manila last month and another one is scheduled this November at the Clark Freeport that will be attended by US President Donald Trump. GAC/Expat Media


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