President Rodrigo Duterte has urged fellow leaders to take the opportunity to build a “new order” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the Jordan-led 2020 Aqaba Process virtual meeting, Duterte said leader must create a new order that is more secure and sustainable thru strengthening economic and defense cooperation.
The Philippine president added that the insecurities that came with the pandemic have heightened the “fear of the other” and brought out “man’s darkest tendencies to look inward and go it alone.”
He also mentioned that no nation has been spared from the pandemic and that the urgent common response was to close down borders and to limit mobility and trade.
Duterte said: “For the first time, all of humanity fear the exact same invisible menace. Not even the Second World War had this most sweeping effect… The repercussions, as we are seeing now, are grim and far-reaching. We have economies in recession, institutions in crisis and societies in state of uncertainty.”
“But the path to recovery requires more openness, deeper solidarity and stronger cooperation among nations,” he added.
Duterte also argued that instead of choosing “self-defeating isolation,” leaders should cooperate to solve problems like the coronavirus pandemic, which he described as “the greatest challenge of our time.”
He said: “Let us seize this historic opportunity to build a new order: one that is more secure, just and humane – where there is no room for the barbarity of terrorists and extremist forces. And one that is fair, equal and sustainable – where progress and prosperity are enjoyed by all.”
“Let us, therefore, honor those who have fallen to the invisible enemy that is the pandemic and the scourge of terrorism. Let us commit ourselves to enduring partnership and cooperation. For indeed, together, we shall prevail,” he continued.
Aside from health and economic issues, the Philippines’ chief executive also stressed that the country is continuously fighting terrorists who take advantage of the pandemic to sow fear.
He said: “Indeed, COVID-19 has not quarantined terrorists. Now, more than ever, our resolve is stronger: we will not let up in our fight against terrorism. And we will not allow COVID-19 to bring our people to their knees.”