ASEAN officials begin talks to battle terrorism, illegal drugs

MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began meeting on Monday, September 18, to battle transnational crimes, including terrorism and illegal drugs.

Leading the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crimes (AMMTC) is the Philippines' Catalino Cuy, officer-in-charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In a press statement, Cuy said regular meetings are "crucial" to foster "collaborative effort" in the region against transnational crimes.

Highlighting the event is the second Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalization and Violent Extremism (SAMMRRVE), organized "to provide a platform for ASEAN member states to exchange experiences, views, and ideas on the best practices in handling the issues of radicalization and violent extremism."

The talks are being held from Monday to Thursday, September 18 to 21, at the Conrad Manila hotel in Pasay City, with the following as representatives of the other ASEAN countries present on the first day:

The meeting comes as radicalization and terrorism pose greater risks to Southeast Asia. (READ: ISIS planning more attacks in PH and region – terror expert)

The Philippine Islamic city of Marawi, for one, has been under siege for almost 4 months now, following an attack by Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired terrorists.

The Philippines is also in the spotlight as President Rodrigo Duterte wages an unrelenting war against drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives.

Aside from extremism, terrorism, and illegal drugs, ASEAN officials are expected to discuss multi-territorial crimes such as human trafficking, arms and cultural property smuggling, money laundering, piracy, cybercrime, economic crime, environmental crime, and intellectual property theft.

The ASEAN officials will give a mid-event media briefing on Tuesday, September 19, and will share their accomplishments and promises on Thursday, September 21. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.