President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Saturday the Philippine government is ready to work with its partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to ensure food security in the country and in the region.
Marcos joined his fellow leaders during the 25th ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, Korea) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“Attaining food self-sufficiency and security by seeking innovative solutions through adoption of new technologies and enhanced connectivity to national, regional, and global value supply chains … must be one of our utmost priorities in the region,” the President said.
“The Philippines reaffirms our commitment to actively engage in the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve or APTERR, [which] is extremely beneficial to our countries. We are vulnerable to many hazards and natural calamities due to topography and geographic location,” added Marcos.
Likewise, the President said the country is prepared to collaborate with ASEAN Plus Three (APT) partners on the New Work Plan 2023-2027, which will serve as a guide in the next five years.
The plan will tackle various areas such as public health, food security, financial cooperation, and digital economy particularly as the region moves towards the post-pandemic recovery.
Marcos also suggested diversifying APTERR by adding other commodities and staple food to the reserve to enhance food security.
Also, the President recommended the exploration of smart agriculture and conduct of capacity-building programs for ASEAN members as well as continuing the conduct of forums that serve as platforms to discuss regional concerns on agriculture and food security.
Further, as part of the region’s post-pandemic recovery, Marcos underscored the need for promoting an environment of peace and security particularly on maritime domain.
“Inasmuch as our region is primarily maritime in character and concerns, we must put a premium in strengthening the multi-faceted nature of our maritime cooperation. Let us continue to work with our APT partners through activities such as safety and freedom of navigation, with the end view of promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in accordance with the relevant international and regional treaties and agreements including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” he said.
President Marcos also delved into the Korean Peninsula issue, calling on the North Korean government to abide by the UN Security Council Resolutions. —LBG, GMA Integrated News

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