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‘ASEAN, East Asia partners must boost food security’

Jakarta—President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday emphasized the need for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners in East Asia to strengthen regional food security mechanisms before he flew home Thursday.

The President arrived at Villamor Air Base at about 12:40 a.m. Friday.

Speaking at the 26th Summit of the ASEAN-Plus Three, which groups the 10 member-states with China, Japan, and South Korea, Mr. Marcos said for the region to move forward, ASEAN and its partner states must “stay united, take adversity in stride, and work together to focus on strengthening food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and developing the digital domain to encompass all levels of society.”

“With the future in mind, we will tighten collaboration with each other and focus on the sustainable development of our region,” he added.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida,

and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, also acting as the coordinator of the Plus Three countries, were present at the Summit and each expressed their full support for and cooperation with the ASEAN.

To ensure food security, President Marcos said regional mechanisms, such as the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve, must be strengthened.

He urged the ASEAN Plus Three to consider diversifying the emergency reserve by adding other commodities and staple foods to strengthen food security and eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the region.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday lauded the call of the President to broaden cooperation among ASEAN members and their partners in East Asia to help feed their citizens in times of need.

“The recent spike in rice prices worldwide underscores the urgent need for stronger regional cooperation to ensure mutual food security and the President’s call for action at the APT Summit is a prudent course of action,” Romualdez said.

In July, global prices for rice shot to their highest level since September 2011, spurred by the decision of India to ban exports of the grain in a bid to tame soaring food prices at home.

“Neighbors helping feed each other is the highest and sincerest form of cooperation,” Romualdez said.

On Thursday, Mr. Marcos urged ASEAN to establish a “Loss and Damage Fund” to combat climate change.

“Countries with the smallest carbon footprints disproportionately bear the heaviest burden of climate change. We need to urgently realize the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) to catalyze assistance to address climate change,” Marcos said during a speech at the 18th East Asia Summit.

Mr. Marcos said climate financing, which is complemented by viable and effective technology transfer and country-specific capacity building, is needed to expedite a “just transition” to a climate-resilient economy.

At the plenary session of the 43rd ASEAN Summit on Tuesday, Marcos urged the ASEAN to pressure the more developed countries to strengthen the implementation of their commitments at the upcoming 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

As one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, Marcos said the Philippines would continue to give priority to internationalcooperation that would make ASEAN climate-smart and disaster-ready through the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity.

Also on the sidelines of the summit:

• The President hailed India’s commitment to support the ASEAN push for stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific region. “Allow me also to begin by thanking India for supporting ASEAN during

the last Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Meeting where India stood in solidarity with ASEAN, especially on our call to factually update paragraphs on the South China Sea in the NAM Ministerial Outcome Document,” he said at the ASEAN-India Summit. Mr. Marcos praised India’s influence and its efforts to promote the rule of law as a major power in the region.

• Mr. Marcos and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet vowed to commit to stronger cooperation between the two nations. The President raised the possibility of importing rice from Cambodia and further boosting commercial aviation between the two countries. “I see that there’s so much room for growth, so much room for partnership,” the President said. With Maricel V. Cruz (See full story online at manilastandard.net)

* Indonesian President Joko Widodo cited the importance of unity between the ASEAN and the United Nations in preserving world peace. He said he hoped the UN will continue to invest significant efforts to create and preserve peace for the world. With Maricel V. Cruz

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