Teodoro tells Asean military veterans to watch out for expansionism
MANILA, Philippines — Stressing that the region is “facing the same threats again,” Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Tuesday warned military veterans of Southeast Asian nations against the expansionist moves of “bigger and mightier countries of brute power.”
Teodoro made the remark before some 160 delegates of Veterans Confederation of Asean Countries during the conference opening held in a hotel in Pasay City.
“We are facing the same threats again in a different guise,” Teodoro said in his speech. “Different actors threaten our individual securities, and if one member of Asean’s security is threatened, then collectively, we open the door for expansionism.”
The top DND official also encouraged the military veterans to be vigilant against “the use of bigger and mightier countries of brute power in order to force themselves on [your] national territory, national sovereignty and the rights of your future generations.”
The Defense chief also recalled a remark of a counterpart, which he did not identify, during the recent Asean Defense Ministers Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Teodoro said the defense official of a certain Asean nation was asked as to what is the greatest threat to their country, to which the officer responded: “When you wake up the next day and you have a neighbor that you do not expect to be your neighbor.”
“That is what will happen if we do not collectively stand up for our rights pursuant to the rules-based international order,” Teodoro said.
The top defense official also urged the Asean veteran representatives to heed the “sign of the times”, enjoining them to learn from the past mistakes of Philippine leaders.
“And why am I telling you this? Because if we disregard the signs of the times and fail to act collectively, and you fail to exercise your influence on your current leadership in order to act as one, then your individual struggles may have been for naught, which we do not want to see,” Teodoro said.
“Then again, use our examples too of your individual struggles not to repeat the mistakes that our leaders made in the past,” he added.