Duterte calls for global unity in fighting terrorism, COVID-19

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    PRESIDENT Duterte on Wednesday called for global unity and the building of a “new order” to effectively address the threats of terrorism and a pandemic.

    The President, speaking before the Aqaba Process Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 Response organized by King Abullah II of Jordan, said everyone was caught unprepared when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic started but as people are focusing their attention to minimizing its impact, terrorists and extremists are taking advantage of the situation to create more problems.

    Duterte cited as example the twin suicide bombings in Jolo in Sulu last month, which killed 17 persons and injured at least 70 others.

    He said local terrorist and insurgent groups like the Abu Sayyaf which is blamed for the Jolo bombings, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the New People’s Army, which is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, are exploiting the situation “to serve their nefarious ends.”

    “Let us seize this historic opportunity to build a new order: one that is more secure, just, and humane – where there is no room for the barbarity of terrorists and extremist forces.

    And one that is fair, equal, and sustainable – where progress and prosperity are enjoyed by all.”

    “Let us commit ourselves to enduring partnership and cooperation. For indeed, together, we shall prevail… Now, more than ever, our resolve is stronger: We will not let up in our fight against terrorism. And we will not allow COVID-19 to bring our people to their knees,” he added.

    The Aqaba Process was launched by the King of Jordan in 2015 as a forum to enhance global coordination against terrorism and violent extremism. It is an annual event attended by world leaders and leaders of international organizations like the United Nations.

    ECONOMIC RECOVERY

    The President, during the two-hour event, expressed his gratitude to the Jordanian King for convening the Aqaba Process and for providing the Philippines air assets to improve its defense capability.

    Duterte also called for “more openness, deeper solidarity, and stronger cooperation among nations” to facilitate economic recovery while combating terrorism in the different countries.

    He said the Philippines, for its part, will intensify its cooperation with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN), the United Nations, and other international partners, including countries like Jordan.

    He said the Philippine government will also work with the International Maritime Organization on the issuance of a “Green Lanes” circular which provides for safe crew changes during the pandemic, and will help ensure the unimpeded movement of goods and services despite the COVID-19 crisis.

    “The key to shared prosperity is the free movement of goods, capital, and services, complemented with appropriate social safety nets. This is why we in ASEAN are drawing up a comprehensive recovery plan anchored on strengthening economic cooperation and supply chain connectivity,” Duterte said.

    The President also said ASEAN will also harness technology to allow businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises, get access to regional and global supply chains.