Cognizant of the existence of radicalization and violent extremism in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), ASEAN ministers today further reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent and counter these twin concerns that are becoming huge challenges in the region.
The ASEAN ministers and other official delegates are in the country for the Second Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism or 2nd SAMMRRVE.
Department of the Interior and Local Government OIC Secretary Catalino S. Cuy, who is also the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime Leader for the Philippines, says the SAMMRRVE is convened to provide a platform (AMMTC) for ASEAN member states to exchange experiences, views and ideas on the best practices in handling the issues of radicalization and violent extremism particularly in South East Asia.
“It is of our mutual interest and benefit to guard the peace and order of our region as an indispensable requisite for ASEAN socioeconomic prosperity,” says Cuy.
“This Ministerial Meeting showcases regional solidarity and resolve to tackle both issues,” he adds.
In 2015, ASEAN first took note of these twin issues that were long overlooked by the region during the first SAMMRRVE which was held in Malaysia.
“There are serious and various challenges in counteracting radicalization and violent extremism but with our regional cooperation on peace and order, we as one ASEAN, can model and light the way for other regional organizations in the world,” says Cuy.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the ASEAN ministers to exchange views and experiences on the unique challenges that their respective countries are encountering in dealing with these concerns as well as on the rehabilitation aspect.
At the same time, ASEAN ministers also discussed possible areas of collaboration in the region to counter radicalization and violent extremism.
Among possible regional initiatives are the conduct of regular regional dialogues and consultations, exchange of intelligence information and resources, establishing joint operations, and engaging regional partners in capacity building programs.
“We say this not out of habit but out of genuine belongingness: we are one ASEAN community with one shared identity and one vision,” says Cuy.
“That is why we have a united resolve to guard our regional peace and stability and we cannot be intimidated by radical and violent extremist groups from within and without,” he adds. | DILG