Aquino to ASEAN police: Security integral to regional progress
MANILA, Philippines – Security and combating transnational crimes in Southeast Asia have become even more important in the light of increased economic integration of ASEAN member countries that will culminate next year.
This was the message of President Benigno Aquino III at the 34th ASEAN Association of Chiefs of Police (ASEANAPOL) Conference on Tuesday, May 13, hosted by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Aquino said there is a greater need to "create strategies" – through a Joint Communiqué to be signed among the delegates at the end of the conference – that will redound to the betterment of our respective societies, and ASEAN as a whole."
"This is especially integral given the impending economic integration of our region in 2015: We all know how human security and freedom from unease can only mean stability and confidence in our markets," he told delegates.
He said improved security and enhanced cooperation will ensure "that the current momentum of growth in ASEAN is sustained."
The conference comes at the heels of the 24th ASEAN Summit in Myanmar over the weekend which, Aquino said, proves that "the pace of our progress as a region will further accelerate," based on discussions among leaders on matters of security, poverty alleviation, climate change, and advancing the rule of law in the region.
In line with the aim to keep the region safer, Aquino encouraged delegates to make the most of the opportunity to discuss stronger mechanisms, share best practices, explore new avenues of cooperation, and bring security agreements to fruition.
"Our goal: To make sure that such criminals are brought to justice in the swiftest and most efficient manner possible; and to allow all the peoples of Southeast Asia to go about their lives with peace of mind, knowing that they are protected by their respective governments," he said.
The cooperation between police forces, he said, will bring about a Southeast Asia "defined by a regime of opportunity, harmony, and mutual prosperity for our peoples."
The ASEANAPOL 4-day conference is expected to tackle transnational crimes affecting member countries including terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, smuggling of firearms, human trafficking, cybercrime. It also gives ASEAN police chiefs the opportunity to interact and share information on the latest developments in law enforcement.
The ASEANAPOL will draft and ratify a Joint Communiqué on the direction of future activities at the end of the 4-day conference.
About 250 delegates are attending the conference, including heads and officials of police forces of ASEAN member-countries; dialogue partners from Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand; and representatives from International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO)-Interpol, ASEANAPOL observer country (Russia), ASEAN and ASEANAPOL secretaries.
The Philippines is a founding member of the ASEANAPOL which held its first conference in Manila in 1981. The group has been holding annual conferences since then hosted by member-agencies.
This is the Philippines' 5th time to host the conference. The PNP last hosted the ASEANAPOL conference in Manila over 10 years ago in 2003. – Rappler.com