ANTI-TERRORISM COOPERATION. AFP Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay (center left frame) participates in the 17th 17th Asean Chiefs of Defense Forces Meeting (ACDFM) held through a virtual conference on Thursday (Sept. 24, 2020). Gapay called for “continuous unity and mutual trust” among his Southeast Asian military counterparts and stressed the Philippines’ commitment to counter-terrorism cooperation among Asean militaries. (Photo courtesy of the AFP Public Affairs Office)
MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay stressed on Thursday the Philippines’ commitment to counter-terrorism cooperation with other militaries in the Southeast Asian region.
During the 17th Asean Chiefs of Defense Forces Meeting (ACDFM) held through a virtual conference, Gapay proposed his five-point plan on the matter.
This includes the increased maritime border patrol operations; improvement of existing mechanisms for bomb data exploitation; advocating peace-related initiatives through different social media platforms; having a common understanding of respective Anti-Terrorism laws in the region, and a common approach in response to the Asean Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter-Terrorism.
Gapay also underscored the country’s commitment to supporting the development of the Asean-China Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
He emphasized the importance of maintaining mutual trust and confidence in the region and to pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.
“The Philippines supports the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, which will be an important and lasting legacy of the Asean and China in ensuring peace, security, and stability in the area,” Gapay said in a statement.
He also called for “continuous unity and mutual trust” among the militaries of the regional bloc.
“Asean must be united, now more than ever, with the ongoing crisis brought about by the effects of Covid-19. As nations across the globe, not only within Asean, exert great efforts to fight this pandemic, the Armed Forces are being called by our respective governments to perform a great deal of supporting tasks,” Gapay added.
He noted that the flexibility of the Asean collaboration in both traditional and non-traditional challenges makes the partnership a strength in the region’s security arrangement and the ACDFM signify the strength of the countries’ unity.
“I am confident that we will achieve a strengthened security relationship towards a cohesive and responsive Asean. After all, we have a shared commitment and mutual responsibility in dealing with common regional security challenges and in preserving the region’s stability,” Gapay said.
The ACDFM, formerly called Asean Chiefs of Defense Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM), is a venue for all Asean Chiefs of Defense to discuss and assess in a strategic, comprehensive, positive, and productive manner all prominent issues and concerns of mutual interests.
This year marks the 17th iteration of the meeting with the theme “Military Cooperation for a Cohesive and Responsive Asean”. The Vietnam People’s Army led by its Chief of General Staff, Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang is this year’s chairman.
Due to the health and safety risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam People’s Army decided to hold the meeting through a virtual conference. Among the attendees were the Chiefs of Defense Forces of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of Singapore, and the Kingdom of Thailand. (PNA)