MANILA, Philippines – Fighting terrorism dominated talks in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits, according to President Rodrigo Duterte. (LIVE: 31st ASEAN Summit)
“Half of the time during the interventions, [we discussed] the issue of terrorism. Everybody is scared.. that just suddenly there will be an explosion or whatever,” Duterte said in a press conference after the closing ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit Tuesday night, November 14.
“We vowed to work closely. We discussed it in confidential meetings. We have agreed on so many things to enhance the defenses of our country,” Duterte said.
The ASEAN Summit was held in the Philippines in the wake of a war with local armed groups linked with international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS). They attacked Marawi City in May in a bid to establish an Islamic caliphate.
Duterte said many of the leaders sent their condolences over the deaths of over a hundred soldiers and congratulated the Philippine military for winning the war.
The urban terrain proved difficult for Filipino troops used to fighting in the jungles. It took them 5 months to flush out the ISIS-linked fighters.
The war displaced most of the city’s 200,000 residents and disrupted commerce in one of the region’s capitals. After the clashes, the battle area was left in ruins.
The military received assistance from various countries – mostly from treaty allies US and Australia – in various areas such as intelligence sharing.
Duterte committed to rehabilitate the city. – Rappler.com