13 November 2017 | Manila, Philippines

Your Majesty, Excellencies, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen: It is my distinct honor and pleasure to welcome you to the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

Less than a month ago, Philippine government forces liberated the City of Marawi from terrorist groups who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. We are now in the process of rehabilitation, resolute in helping our people back on their feet to reclaim their lives.

We thank our international partners for providing assistance in dealing with the situation in Marawi City. Our ASEAN brothers provided support by sending relief items for the benefit of internally displaced persons, while others provided valuable assistance that bolstered our military campaign.

Your Majesty, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for setting the tone of my statement in such a manner. I only want to emphasize that our meetings for the next two days present an excellent opportunity for us to engage in meaningful discussions on matters of regional and global importance.

For example, terrorism and violent extremism endanger the peace, stability and security of our region because these threats know no boundaries. Piracy and armed robbery in the seas put a dent on our growth and disrupt the stability of both regional and global commerce. The menace of illegal drug trade continues to endanger the very fabric of our societies.

These and other issues are high on the agenda of our meetings, along with other non-traditional security issues that challenge the prosperity of our economies, the integrity of our institutions and, more importantly, the safety of our peoples.

Your Majesty, Excellencies, in the coming days, we shall be looking at the progress of ASEAN community-building and the direction of our cooperation with our Dialogue Partners, as well as that of ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asia Summit.

I am pleased to announce that ASEAN Member States have come to an agreement on the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. I will be joining other ASEAN Leaders tomorrow in signing this landmark document that strengthens social protection, access to justice, humane and fair treatment, and access to health services for our peoples.

Other deliverables that will see fruition include those concerning health, women and youth, terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism, trafficking, poverty alleviation, food security, coastal and marine environment, and the pursuit of innovation for our economies, among others.

Your Majesty, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it has been a privilege for the Philippines to chair ASEAN during its milestone year. It has been a pleasure to work with our ASEAN family and our Dialogue Partners in moving the ASEAN Community forward and in enhancing cooperation in various areas—all towards the realization of the ASEAN Vision 2025.

On that note, it is my honor and pleasure to declare the 31st ASEAN Summit and its Related Summits open.

Thank you.

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