Duterte calls for integrated, drug-free Asean community
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — President Rodrigo Duterte focused on his role as this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as he gave his opening speech at a World Economic Forum event here.
Duterte gave a rallying call for an integrated and drug-free Asean economic community.
“Our vision is an Asean economic community that is relevant, responsive and transformative,” he told hundreds of business and government leaders during the opening plenary of the WEF on Asean.
He said the regional bloc will need to focus on achieving inclusive growth.
“In pursuit of integration, (we will pursue an) instinctively Asean way to guide us — sustainable and inclusive development according to our needs, at our own pace and guided by our core values,” he said.
While his fellow heads of state from Cambodia and Laos focused on the economic issues, Duterte made sure to mention his advocacy against illegal drugs.
“The youth is certainly a key sector that we must invest in,” he said.
“We must empower them to be the best version of themselves,” Duterte said. “We cannot turn a blind eye on the scourge of illegal drugs that threatens our youth and the future of our societies.
“We need to take a committed stand to dismantle and destroy the illegal drug trade apparatus, (and) affirm our commitment to realize a drug-free Asean community,” he said./rga
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