Press Release
April 8, 2021

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the Secretary of Foreign Affairs' participation in the emergency ASEAN summit on Myanmar

I would like to express my support for the Secretary of Foreign Affairs' participation in the upcoming emergency Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit that is meant to address the political and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

The Philippines, being a founding member of the ASEAN, should be actively involved in ensuring we uphold just peace in the region. Mass atrocities should be nothing but a thing of the past.

It is heartbreaking to see scenes and hear reports of the deaths in Myanmar. The vicious bloodbath against peaceful protesters also goes against ASEAN's pursuit of democratic forms of governance and the attendant respect for human rights.

The ASEAN as a whole must stand in solidarity with the peoples of Myanmar. As the emergency meeting commences, there must be a robust action that could lead to a more free, more just, and more humane Myanmar. The doctrine of Responsibility to Protect commands all of us.

Not only do we have the responsibility to help our neighbor, it is simply in the best interest of the Philippines and the entire ASEAN that Myanmar's junta stops unleashing violence against the people.

Women and children suffer the most in conflicts. If this bloodshed persists, citizens of Myanmar will continue to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring nations. The spread of COVID-19 due to this potential displacement also poses a great challenge.

Over 570 people have been killed by the junta since the coup, and more than 3,000 have been put in jail. Despite these brutal attacks of the military, citizens of Myanmar have continued to resist. They have been risking their lives to preserve and defend the democracy that they have worked so hard to achieve. The world is witness to their courage. The ASEAN's shared belief in democracy only means that Myanmar's fight is our fight, too.

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