By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. maintained that the Philippines’ efforts to address terrorism have been anchored on human rights and the rule of law.
In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Mr. Locsin shared the Philippines’ policies against terrorism before foreign leaders during a security roundtable discussion in the 55th Munich Security Conference in Bavaria, Germany, last week. He was among the 50 foreign ministers attending the forum, along with 35 heads of state and 30 defense ministers.
The security roundtable discussion where Mr. Locsin spoke was titled “The Smuggle is Real: New Impulses for Countering Illicit Flows.” It was attended by Kenyan Foreign Minister Monica Juma, Europol Executive Director Catherine de Bolle, and US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
“Our counter-terrorism efforts will remain anchored on respect for human rights and the rule of law. And always with this in mind: that a state’s first, and foremost, and overriding responsibility is to protect the law-abiding against the lawless; and the innocent against those who threaten their safety and well-being,” Mr. Locsin was quoted as saying.
“To that responsibility my President has made an iron, unwavering and total commitment,” he added.
The DFA said the Foreign Affairs Secretary also attended the plenary discussions which featured German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and Romanian President and EU Council President Klaus Iohannis among the speakers.
The Philippines also had bilateral meetings with Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
It also noted that it was the first time the Philippines participated in the Munich Security Conference, a global platform for dialogue and debate on international security issues.
“That we’re taking part in this forum for the first time in more than half a century is a clear signal of our desire to engage closely with Germany and other partners to come up with viable solutions to pressing security concerns,” Philippine Embassy in Berlin Chargé d’Affaires Lilibeth V. Pono said in a statement.
According to its website, the Munich Security Conference brings together international decision-makers to discuss the latest research findings on current issues in international security policy.
In a Reuters report, the security conference also saw United States Vice-President Michael R. Pence and Ms. Merkel providing differing visions on addressing the world’s crisis. Mr. Pence called for European leaders to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, while Ms. Merkel said the US decision to leave the Iran deal was not the best way to tackle the crisis in the region.