ASEAN has come to a consensus on Myanmar — PBBM

Hand in hand for the ASEAN (From left) Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Laos’ Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Brunei’s Prime Minister Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s President Hun Sen, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and East Timor’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Labuan Bajo on 10 May.

INDONESIA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said earlier this week that the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have seemingly come to a consensus regarding the situation in Myanmar. 

During the ASEAN Summit Retreat Session on Thursday, Marcos said the 10-member regional bloc produced a five-point consensus to address the escalating tension in Myanmar. 

The consensus included measures for an immediate cessation of violence, engagement in dialogue among all involved parties, the appointment of a special envoy, provision of humanitarian aid by ASEAN, and a visit by the ASEAN envoy to Myanmar for discussions with all parties. 

“Since the Five-Point (Consensus) has not been implemented and there seems little progress, the advice or the opinion of the majority of ASEAN members was that we must find ways to re-engage both sides of the conflict, both the military regime and the opposition. And it seems a good idea,” Marcos said.

“The Philippines agrees with this view,” Marcos added.

Marcos also pointed out that the “road to peace” in the ASEAN region “starts at home,” adding that “the Philippines recognizes that the path towards reconciliation in Myanmar can only begin through an inclusive and constructive dialogue between all stakeholders.”

Myanmar has grappled with military control, internal conflicts, governance challenges, and poverty since its independence. However, a military coup in February 2021 derailed democratic efforts in the Southeast Asian nation.

Hence, Marcos urged Myanmar to abide by and implement the Five-Point Consensus once it is implemented. 

“The Philippines strongly urges the utmost restraint and immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar. We continue to call on Myanmar to abide by and implement the Five-Point Consensus,” Marcos added.

In the same session, Marcos underscored that the ASEAN member states must play a leading role in shaping an open, inclusive, and rules-based international order that is underpinned by the principles of sovereignty, justice, equity, and good governance.

President Marcos emphasized the need for the ASEAN to develop an innovative and flexible system to facilitate decisive, effective, and timely decision-making in the ASEAN. 

He said, “The decisiveness of ASEAN and the effectiveness and capacity of the ASEAN-led regional architecture in demonstrating and asserting its Centrality in the region will determine whether ASEAN truly matters.”

He also underscored the importance of ASEAN in the country’s foreign policy, saying: “ASEAN is at the cornerstone of our Philippine foreign policy.”

“We believe that our voice in the international community can only be stronger when it is part of a chorus that represents our collective purpose,” Marcos added.

Marcos said the acceleration of human trafficking in the ASEAN region has shown that the misuse of technologies can fuel the explosive growth of organized crime.

Hence, the Chief Executive said the Philippines would strengthen its engagement with partners to combat organized crime.

“As the Lead Shepherd for cooperation against Trafficking in Persons, the Philippines will strengthen engagement with our partners in safeguarding the security and well-being of our people,” Marcos said.

The President also highlighted the importance of regional perspectives in formulating a global response to shared concerns. 

While multilateral cooperation is key in tackling global challenges, Marcos said regional perspectives need to be taken into account.

“The future of this region must be determined by ASEAN and ASEAN alone,” President Marcos concluded.

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