MANILA, Nov 12 (Mabuhay) — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must fast-track the implementation of the peace agreement, otherwise known as “five-point consensus,” to address the crisis in Myanmar, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. attends the ASEAN – UN Summit during which he lauded the partnership in achieving its action lines for political-security, economic, socio-cultural and cross-sectoral cooperation in the 2021-2025 ASEAN-UN Plan of Action. Following his call for the mainstreaming of the youth’s participation in the global peace and development agenda, PBBM reaffirmed the Philippines’ engagement with the UN in its peace-building efforts, particularly in the Middle East where many OFWs live and in upholding international laws such as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). (MNS photo)

Marcos made the remark during his intervention at the 41st ASEAN Summit Retreat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, saying he and his fellow Southeast Asian leaders must heed the call for the welfare and protection of the people of Myanmar, one of the member-states of the 10-nation regional bloc.

“The Philippines thus reiterates the need for the speedy implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, which Myanmar agreed to in the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting held in Jakarta in April 2021,” Marcos said.

In April 2021, the ASEAN member-states came up with a “five-point consensus,” which calls for an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and constructive dialogue among all concerned parties.

Under the peace agreement, a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall also facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of the regional organization.

The deal also mandates the ASEAN member-states to provide humanitarian assistance and send the special envoy and delegation to Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.

Marcos told his fellow ASEAN leaders that the apparent deadlock in the implementation of the peace deal could taint the region’s good reputation.

“While the Philippines adheres to the ASEAN principles of non-interference and consensus, the protracted suffering of the people in Myanmar, in part due to the lack of progress in the implementation of the Five Point Consensus, also challenges the ASEAN-honored principles of democracy and the respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the ASEAN Charter,” he said.

Marcos said “direct” negotiations with the military junta and all stakeholders are crucial to end violence and address the crisis in Myanmar.

He urged his fellow Southeast Asian leaders to continue taking a “constructive” approach in engaging the stakeholders in Myanmar, consistent with the ASEAN’s shared vision of “people-centered and people-oriented.”

“This would include direct engagement with the military administration, but also with all other stakeholders, including the political opposition within the ASEAN framework towards the full implementation of the Five Point Consensus,” Marcos said.

The coup staged by Myanmar’s military was met with mass civil unrest, as people protested the restoration of military rule in the country.

Over 14 million people in Myanmar, or about a quarter of the country’s population, need humanitarian assistance amid the ongoing crisis, based on the United Nations estimates.

Apart from the Myanmar crisis, Marcos also raised other issues affecting the Southeast Asian region, such as post-pandemic recovery, the China-Taiwan cross-strait relations, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The global issues, Marcos said, require “concerted efforts” to be addressed.  (MNS)