President Duterte to focus on fight vs terrorism, urge greater cooperation during ASEAN Summit

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte will be discussing the fight against terrorism and urge greater cooperation to battle terrorists, specifically the Islamic militancy, during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit that will be held in the country.

Following military victories in Iraq, Syria and the southern Philippine City of Marawi, Duterte will take the ASEAN Summit as an opportunity to push the fight against terrorism at the ASEAN regional level.

Foreign minister Alan Peter Cayetano said Duterte would discuss this fight against terrorism, a key priority, with ASEAN leaders and regional partners, including U.S. President Donald Trump, gathering at a summit in Manila on November 13.

“The defeat suffered by the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and the Philippines does not mean the fight is over. The terrorist attacks in New York and other places abroad during the past several weeks tell us the threat remains real,” Cayetano said in a statement.

In Marawi, soldiers killed two pro-Islamic state gunmen and arrested an Indonesian militant a week after the army declared victory over the Maute Group, which occupied large parts of the lakeside city for five months.

Cayetano said the Philippines, during the ASEAN Summit, want to deepen and strengthen its cooperation with allies, by stepping up efforts to share intelligence, training and build resources, among others.

“The Philippines is more than ready to do its share in helping make the world a safer place,” Secretary Cayetano said, adding that Manila is looking forward to cooperating with other countries, particularly in intelligence sharing and capacity-building as part of the country’s counterterrorism efforts.

Also on the summit agenda are North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and nuclear weapons program, overlapping claims in the South China Sea and wider regional trade pacts.

The Philippines will urge its allies to step up efforts to hunt down Islamic State and affiliates worldwide.
There are still two smaller pro-Islamic State Militant Groups in the southern Philippines.  (with a Reuters report)