MANILA – The issue of human rights will be tackled at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit next week, Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said Tuesday.
“It will be a big subject during the ASEAN meetings,” he added.
The Philippine government’s record for human rights has been criticized due to the extrajudicial killings that was quickly followed with President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Something the local and international human rights groups have admonished him for. The government has vehemently denied its involvement in the killings.
Ablan said the administration is hoping the relationships between the Philippines and the United States will not turn cold during the bilateral talks in light of the government’s attitude towards human rights.
Among the Heads of States expected to attend the ASEAN summit is US President Donald Trump and will hold a bilateral discussion with Duterte. He and Trump will discuss everything ranging from political security, economic and sociocultural topics in their closed door meeting.
The agenda that will be tackled by the world leaders at the ASEAN will be the trade agreements and possibly the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
When it comes to equality in terms of trade agreements in the ASEAN region, Philippine officials said they have a “home court advantage” to get the best deals from the other countries.
Some of the benefits the ordinary Filipinos can get from the ASEAN Summit are the drop in prices of goods and travel between ASEAN member countries due to the mutual treaties between them. Educational trips and grants given to students to study in other countries and increased business for hotels and service-oriented enterprises.
The ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.