MANILA- The Philippines wants stronger cooperation on disaster management among Southeast Asian countries in the wake of recent natural calamities that have struck the region.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano reaffirmed Manila’s commitment to improving disaster management ties during his meeting with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on Monday.
During the meeting, Cayetano highlighted the need to strengthen the capacity of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center).
“The AHA Center is an important part of the ASEAN Community as it is a manifestation of our solidarity in times of disasters, especially with natural and man-made disasters happening in our region almost one after the other,” Cayetano said, as he cited the recent earthquakes in Lombok and the flooding in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines.
“Because of this, the Philippines is supportive of proposals to strengthen the AHA Center in terms of manpower, training, and reach,” he added.
Cayetano also extended the Philippine government's gratitude for the assistance extended by the AHA Center during the Marawi siege last year.
“Given its limited resources and manpower, the AHA Center has extended humanitarian assistance more than it has capacity for, such as in Marawi, in the Northern Rakhine in Myanmar, in Lombok and in Laos,” he said.
During his visit to the ASEAN Headquarters, Cayetano also met with the Filipinos working there as well as the officers and staff of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN.