ASEAN vows to further heighten efforts vs rising radicalization, violent extremism
Southeast Asian countries vowed on Tuesday to further intensify efforts and strategies to address the rising radicalization and violent extremism in the region.
This as the trust fund to support humanitarian and relief efforts on irregular movement of people among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has reached $900,000, with $450,000 deposited in the bank, said Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government Officer-in-charge Catalino S. Cuy.
The Philippines is hosting a four-day 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime and Its Related Meetings and 2nd Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalization and Violent Extremism, which started on Monday in Pasay City.
During the opening of the special ministerial meeting, Cuy cited the Marawi crisis and the foiling of an Abu Sayyaf attack during the closing ceremony of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia late last month as proof that "there is indeed an existence of radicalization and violent extremism in the ASEAN community.
"(W)e committed to further intensify our efforts and strategies to counter these threats through the conduct of regular regional dialogues and consultations, exchange of intelligence information and resources, establishing joint operations, and engaging regional partners in capacity building programs," he said during the press briefing.
He underscored the need to promote tolerance of ideological differences in schools and the social media, among others, "with greater focus on the youth and women."
In the same briefing, Cuy said during the preparatory meetings on Monday, several issues were discussed, including the ASEAN Trust Fund to Support Humanitarian and Relief Effort in the Event of Irregular Movement of Persons in Southeast Asia.
"At present, the trust fund has accumulated $900,000, $450,000 of which is already deposited in the bank while the rest is composed of pledges from different member-countries," he said, citing that the Philippines has pledged $100,000 to the trust fund.
The trust fund was launched in July 2015 wherein all the 10 ASEAN member countries promised to contribute an initial $100,000 each, with Singapore promising $200,000.
Cuy said during the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, two working groups were approved. These were the SOMTC Working Group on Arms Smuggling as proposed by Cambodia, and the SOMTC WG on Illicit Trafficking of Wildlife and Timber as proposed by Thailand.
The Philippines is the chairman of ASEAN 2017. Other ASEAN member countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Celerina Monte/DMS