ASEAN community commits to fight violent extremism in the region

PASAY CITY, Manila – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community delegates had agreed to unify themselves in fighting against violent extremism in the region during the two-day Conference on Peace and the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Southeast Asia held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Manila on September 22-23, 2017.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) Secretary Jesus Dureza who welcomed the delegates said that the unity of ASEAN community against violent extremism is a vital to every member-state to prevent the spread of this ideology specially to the youth in the region.

“The ASEAN leaders should be made aware of this growing threat,” Dureza said.

Fidel V. Ramos, former Philippine President and keynote speaker of the event asked the ASEAN member-states to address the root cause of extremism. “We should address poverty insurgency, criminality, drug abuse and nuclear bullying”, he said.

Ramos is also a chairman emeritus of the ASEAN Society of the Philippines.

The Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Ambassador Ong Keng Yong underscored that violent extremism is among of the main problems to the security of ASEAN region.

The conference also highlighted the concern over the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Marawi and the massive destructions because of the presence of local-IS inspired group Maute Group who in months engaged Philippine troops in a violent, bloody urban fighting. 

A youth participant from Mindanao who spoke on issue of radicalization lamented that ‘historical injustices’ to the Moro people, ‘frustrations’ in the ‘delay of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law’ aggravated the situation and lure the youth to radical extremism.  

The ASEAN community accepts the need to engage local communities as critical partners in the rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives, peace-building programs, and addressing violent extremism not only through military approach.

Hundreds of participants from different sectors, that include political leaders, government officials, security analysts, peace advocates, members of academe, religious leaders, CSO leaders, women, youth and media attended the conference with at least 10 resource persons and speakers from the ASEAN member-states.

The conference was organized by the ASEAN Society of the Philippines, Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process with the support of other peace partners.