PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said his visit to Cambodia for the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian nations (Asean) Summits and Related Summits was a success as he was able to stress and clarify the country’s stand on various global concerns such as food security, agriculture and climate change.

In a speech during his arrival at the Villamor Airbase Monday dawn, November 14, 2022, Marcos said attending the Asean Summit where he gets to meet his counterparts in the region was an “interesting” experience.

“I think it was quite gratifying to see that there was a very large area of consensus amongst the Asean member states. At ganoon pare-pareho kasi sa atin, ‘yung food supply, presyo ng fertilizer, presyo ng langis, iyon ang inaalala supply-side problems. Parehong-pareho sa atin (and that’s the same because for us, the food supply, the price of fertilizer, the price of oil, those are the supply-side problems that concern us),” he said.

“At saka bukod pa doon ay mayroong — nagkakaunawaan lahat ng member states na hindi kaya ng mag-isa. Kailangan magsama-sama, kailangan magtulungan,” he added.

(All member states agreed that we cannot do it alone. We need to get together, we need to work together.)

During the three-day event, Asean leaders discussed community building efforts and the pressing regional concerns and issues such as the situation in Myanmar, the developments in the South China Sea, the conflict in Ukraine due to Russian invasion, and the application of Timor-Leste for Asean membership.

Marcos raised the need for the immediate implementation of the Five-Point Consensus peace plan to address the worsening crisis in Myanmar after its military, which claimed there has been widespread irregularities in the landslide win of their top leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, took over the government under a one-year state of emergency.

Suu Kyi was arrested and put behind bars.

The peace plan, according to Marcos, seeks for the urgent end to violence, as well as step up dialogues between the military and opposition movement.

Marcos encouraged other Asean leaders to continue taking a constructive approach in engaging the stakeholders in Myanmar consistent with their shared vision of an Asean, which is people-centered and people-oriented.

On Sunday, Marcos renewed his call to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, security, stability and prosperity and not an area of armed conflict or geopolitical discord.

“Let us be guided by the universal principles of peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation as laid out in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. As High Contracting Parties to the Treaty, we have a moral and legal obligation to work towards finding resolutions and not resort to inciting conflicts. That path leads us only to perdition,” Marcos said during his intervention at the 17th East Asia Summit.

Marcos also pushed for the early conclusion of Code of Conduct in the South China Sea based on international law.

The Asean leadership approved the membership of Timor-Leste as the bloc’s 11th member.

The leaders of the United States led by US President Joseph Biden Jr., New Zealand and Canada led by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were also present during the events related to the summit.

Marcos urged the US to use its “global clout” to address rising fuel prices brought about by the continuous conflict in Ukraine due to Russian invasion.

He also renewed the country’s commitment to support efforts to ensure food security and address maritime security issues and transnational crime.

During his trip to Cambodia, Marcos also met with business leaders and urged them to look at the opportunities in the Philippines as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. (SunStar Philippines)