Asean seeks to strengthen antipiracy drive

Published by rudy Date posted on May 9, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign ministers of Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) member-states will seek to strengthen further the regional and global campaign to combat piracy and violations of intellectual property through the development of multilateral and bilateral arrangements, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Sunday.

The DFA reported that the proposal to further enhance Asean’s antipiracy drive aims to facilitate the apprehension, investigation, prosecution, and extradition, exchange of witness, sharing of evidence, inquiry, seizure and forfeiture of proceeds of piracy, mutual legal and administrative assistance among Asean member-states, which is in accordance with the Asean Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario have pushed forward Philippine priorities in achieving the Asean community building goals in 2015 during the Fifth Meeting of the Political-Security Community (APSC), the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Eight Meeting of the Asean Coordinating Council in preparation for the 18th Asean Summit in Jakarta.

According to the DFA, these priorities also include the “full and effective implementation of the Asean Work Plan on Combating Illicit Drug Production, Trafficking and Use for 2009 to 2015 to achieve a Drug-Free Asean by 2015.”

Del Rosario highlighted the Philippines’ commitment to promote and protect human rights in Asean through the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the implementation of the Asean Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

He cited the completion of the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea this year to commemorate 20 years of Asean-China strategic partnership.

During the preparatory meetings, del Rosario also asserted Asean Member States’ need for closer coordination to promote and protect the welfare of its nationals caught in crisis situations given the peace and security situation in the Middle East and Africa.

Moreover, the list included enhancing disaster-management cooperation in the Asean Regional Forum by improving coordination mechanisms and capacity building such as the Disaster Relief Exercise held in Manado, Indonesia, from March 14 to 19.

Del Rosario likewise pushed for the full implementation of APSC Communication Plan which, he said, was adopted in 2010 to enhance awareness among the peoples in Asean of how APSC benefits the region to contribute to the promotion of peace and security in the region.

The DFA Secretary said also in the priority is the preparation of an Asean Convention on Trafficking in Persons as soon as possible as a mechanism to enhance Asean’s efforts in combating trafficking in persons.

 In this regard, he said, the Philippines, as the lead shepherd on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), will host the “Experts’ Meeting to Study the Feasibility on Developing an Asean Convention on Trafficking in Persons” in June, and the Fifth Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime Working Group Meeting on TIP and the 20th Meeting of the Heads of Specialist Antitrafficking Units in July this year.

As agreed in the preparatory meetings, the Asean Ministers also committed to ensure “tangible progress” on the implementation of the priority projects and key actions of the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity which include the feasibility studies on (1) the Asean roll-on/roll-off and Short Sea shipping; and (2) the extension of the Trans-Asean Gas Pipeline in BIMP-Eaga;

Del Rosario said the conferees also agreed on the inclusion of political and security issues in the agenda of the East Asia Summit (EAS) by “creating an environment conducive to discussion of such issues.”

By doing this, he said, Asean raises the strategic value of the EAS as a leader’s forum with the inclusion of the United States and the Russian Federation as new members.

Del Rosario explained that since Asean is only four years away from its target date of building its community by 2015, he stressed during the meetings the need for Asean to step up and expedite its work to realize an Asean Community that is peaceful, stable, economically competitive and people-oriented. –Butch Fernandez, Business Mirror

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