Thank you Mr. Chair, Your Majesty, Your Excellencies and to our esteemed guest, His Excellency Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a warm welcome.
Our joint statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific is indeed timely. We take note of Australia’s steadfast partnership with ASEAN in a wide range of maritime cooperation activities. ASEAN welcomes Australia’s support for the 12th ASEAN Maritime Forum and the 10th Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum which the Philippines will host in Manila this December. Likewise, I look forward to enhanced cooperation in maritime law enforcement and in combating illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and marine debris.
I also encourage continued collaboration in combating transnational crime. And on this, I thank Australia for supporting the Bohol Trafficking in Persons work plan to implement the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children. This partnership strengthens our regional responses and keep us in step with the constantly evolving schemes of transnational criminals and traffickers.
On the economic front, the Philippines encourages Australia’s continued collaboration with the ASEAN TVET Council (ATC) in improving and strengthening the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) systems and programs of the ASEAN Member States. As the inaugural chair of the ASEAN TVET Council from 2020-2022, the Philippines anticipates increased training and scholarships between our specialists and students.
This is critical for us to strengthen our technology and labor [inaudible]. This will be especially helpful as we conclude the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area upgrade, which will further encourage trade in services, among other updates in today’s digital age.
As our countries suffer more frequently from the grave effects of alternating droughts and typhoons, our cooperation on addressing climate change can only grow in importance. Thus, I am inviting Australia to strengthen its support to the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). The ACB is ASEAN’s lead institution in biodiversity conservation and promotion.
The Philippines also welcomes engagement with Australia on the implementation of the Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry for 2016 – 2025. Food-resilience and food self-sufficiency are two of our very basic and foremost priorities in the Philippines. We need to protect the region and our countries from shocks on the global food value chain, as well as against the adverse effects of climate change.
The Philippines is fully committed to upholding regional peace and security. The Quad’s assurance of unwavering support for ASEAN unity and Centrality is a welcome pronouncement. It is in line with the view that such minilateral mechanisms should complement the ASEAN-centred regional security architecture.
It is with this view that I am requesting Australia’s support for the Philippines’ candidature, as the ASEAN candidate, to the UN Security Council for the term 2027-2028. We our confident that our experience in building peace and forging new paths of cooperation, the Philippines can enrich the work of the Security Council.
Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, the ASEAN and Australia partnership extends to many other fields reinvigorated by the Australia for ASEAN Futures Initiative. Let us continue this positive momentum so that we can look forward to achieving yet more in the coming years.
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Watch here: 2nd ASEAN-Australia Summit
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia