PH, Asean eye regional security amid transnational crimes, economic integration
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday stressed the importance of security cooperation among countries amid threats of transnational crimes and in anticipation of the Asean economic integration.
“Criminals often attempt to evade justice by crossing borders, thereby stretching the capacities of our respective police forces, often times, challenging the existing laws of each country in the region. This is one of the primary reasons why we are gathered here,” Aquino said at the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Chiefs of Police (Aseanapol) Conference held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
In his speech, Aquino said stronger mechanisms and cooperation are crucial as Asean member states gear up for economic integration in 2015.
“We all know how human security and freedom from unease can only mean stability and confidence in our markets. All of you thus play an important role in ensuring that the current momentum of growth in ASEAN is sustained,” he told officials of the Royal Brunei Police Force, Cambodian National Police Force, Indonesian National Police, Myanmar Police Force, Singapore Police Force, Socialist Republic of Vietnam Police, Royal Thai Police, Royal Malaysia Police, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic Police Force.
The President boasted of the benefits of “enhanced cooperation” in the region, including the shared databases of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the Aseanapol. He said these helped speed up the exchange of information between countries in identifying stolen motor vehicles, apprehending wanted persons, rescuing missing persons, breaking up syndicates, or neutralizing terrorist elements.
“These are vital tools in identifying, apprehending, filing cases against, and eventually prosecuting criminals in court. If we can build on this further, then we can certainly move closer to ending the scourges of human trafficking, the illegal drug trade, cybercrime, money laundering, and terrorism,” he said.
Aquino had just gotten back from Myanmar where the 24th Asean Summit was held.
The Philippines is among the founding members of the Aseanapol, which held its first conference in Manila in 1981.
The Asean is eyeing a fully integrated regional economy by 2015. In addition to zero tariffs, other aspects of the integration include improvements in infrastructure, intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, Customs automation and modernization, addressing red tape and other forms of corruption, streamlining business procedures and implementing a competition policy.
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