Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III President of the Philippines
At the 34th ASEAN Chiefs of Police Conference,  delivered at Sofitel Hotel, Pasay, on May 13, 2014

His excellency Nikolay Kudashev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines; Secretary Mar Roxas; Police Director General Alan Purisima; delegates of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Chiefs of Police Conference; honored guests; ladies and gentlemen;

Just a  couple of days ago, I was in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital city of the Republic of Union of Myanmar, to attend the 24th ASEAN Summit. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with my counterparts and further deepen our cooperation on matters of security, poverty alleviation, climate change, and advancing the rule of law in the ASEAN region. I am delighted to report that our meeting allowed us to move forward on all of these fronts, and we can all expect that the pace of our progress as a region will further accelerate from here.

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of speaking to yet another set of ASEAN leaders. I cannot overstate the importance of today’s conference. After all, while I and other heads of state in Myanmar fostered agreements on a broader scale, those of you present in today’s gatherings like this will be vital in making sure that agreements become tangible realities for our peoples in the area of peace and security.

We meet today with the full knowledge that wrongdoing is not limited to single countries or particular regions. Transnational crime crosses beyond borders. Criminals often attempt to evade justice by crossing borders, thereby stretching the capacities of our respective police forces, often times, challenging the existing laws of each country in the region. This is one of the primary reasons why we are gathered here. Our goal: To make sure that such criminals are brought to justice in the swiftest and most efficient manner possible; and to allow all the peoples of Southeast Asia to go about their lives with peace of mind, knowing that they are protected by their respective governments.

We have already witnessed the benefits of enhanced cooperation. Our shared databases such as the I-24/7 system of the INTERPOL and the e-ADS or the ASEANAPOL Database System have improved the speed at which we exchange information on issues of great importance—whether it involves identifying stolen motor vehicles, apprehending wanted persons, rescuing missing persons, breaking up syndicates, or neutralizing terrorist elements. These are vital tools in identifying, apprehending, filing cases against, and eventually prosecuting criminals in court. If we can build on this further, then we can certainly move closer to ending the scourges of human trafficking, the illegal drug trade, cybercrime, money laundering, and terrorism.

I am confident that you will make the most of this opportunity to build stronger mechanisms, through the Joint Communique that you are about to sign at the end of the conference, and create strategies that will redound to the betterment of our respective societies, and ASEAN as a whole. This is especially integral given the impending economic integration of our region in 2015: We all know how human security and freedom from unease can only mean stability and confidence in our markets. All of you thus play an important role in ensuring that the current momentum of growth in ASEAN is sustained. Each small step you take towards making our police forces and law enforcement agencies work better together means that more of our peoples are freed from the shackles of injustice and abuse; each successful measure our countries enact together means that more women and children in our respective countries can sleep better at night, with the knowledge that our police forces are guaranteeing their safety and security.

I encourage all of you here: Let us explore new avenues of cooperation to minimize the breathing room of criminals; let us share best practices with one another; let us bring our security agreements to fruition by optimizing the synergies between our countries acting as one voice along the spirit of ASEAN platform. Above all, I encourage all of you present here to make it a point not simply to talk, but to listen, and to be open to the ideas of your counterparts. After all, it is through this sharing and listening that we will bring about a Southeast Asia where justice and the rule of law reign supreme—a Southeast Asia defined by a regime of opportunity, harmony, and mutual prosperity for our peoples.

I bid you all a good day.

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