THE Philippines will be proposing two declarations on combatting terrorism and promoting maritime cooperation when the country assumes the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next year, sources told the Manila Standard.
Sources privy to the country’s preparations for the Asean chairmanship said the two documents will be called the “Manila Declaration to Combat the Rise of Radicalization and Violent Extremism” and “Asean Joint Declaration on the Decade of Maritime Cooperation and Prosperity.”
The documents are planned to be tackled and approved during the Asean Leader’s Summit in August or September next year.
The Philippines, along with Indonesia and Malaysia, faces threats of terrorism brought by the rise of local groups that have sworn allegiance to the Daesh.
Earlier drafts of thematic priorities to be pushed by the Philippines during its chairmanship are “a people-oriented and people-centered Asean; peace and stability in the region; maritime security and cooperation; Asean resiliency; and Asean as a model of regionalism and a global player.”
Sources, however, said there is still no word among the leaders of 10-nation bloc if it is looking to produce or mention a binding Code of Conduct on South China Sea.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who will serve as the chairman of the bloc, had earlier opted to sign agreements on joint coast guard patrols with Beijing instead of pursuing the line of the previous administration for China to abandon its claims over contested waters “to lower regional tensions.”
Asean leaders just agreed to adopt agreements such as the “Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of Asean Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” and an agreement to create the framework on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea.
The Palace, meanwhile, has yet to name the director-general of the Asean National Organizing Committee, but a source said Chief Presidential Protocol Marciano Paynor Jr., whom President Rodrigo Duterte earlier named as Philippine Ambassador to the United States “will stay” to aide the President in discharging his duties as Asean chairman.
The source said Duterte is considering retaining Paynor in the country for the purpose because of his experience from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held in the country last year.
Robert Eric Borje, whom Duterte earlier named as Paynor’s replacement as chief presidential protocol office, meanwhile, was reappointed for another foreign service post.