MANILA, Nov 12 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday expressed the Philippine government’s readiness to work with the partners of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in ensuring food security, one of his top domestic agenda.

During the 25th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit today, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expresses his readiness to collaborate on the Work Plan 2023-2027 and to actively engage in the APT Emergency Rice Reserve. PBBM suggested enhancing the APT Emergency Rice Reserve by adding other commodities and staple foods to the reserve. Citing the APT’s common maritime attributes, PBBM called for improving connectivity and expanding partnerships in the digital domain. (MNS photo)

Joining his fellow leaders during the 25th ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Phnom Penh, President Marcos said the Philippines remains 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.

“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 — this must be one of our utmost priorities in the region,” Marcos said in his intervention.

“The Philippines reaffirms our commitment to actively engage in the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve or APTERR. APTERR is extremely beneficial to our countries. We are vulnerable to many hazards and natural calamities due to topography and geographic location,” the President added.

To enhance security, the Philippine leader suggested diversifying APTERR by adding other commodities and staple food to the reserve.

At the same time, the chief executive 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.

And as part of the region’s post-pandemic recovery, the President 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),” Marcos pointed out.

The President also delved on the Korean Peninsula issue, calling on the North Korean government to abide by the UN Security Council Resolutions. (MNS)