Manila supports call to send ASEAN official to Myanmar to initiate peace talks


THE PHILIPPINES has joined the call of Southeast Asian leaders to hold talks with Myanmar’s military and other concerned parties to restore peace and democracy in the crisis-laden country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. supported the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consensus to appoint one of the region’s top officials “to initiate talks among concerned parties, with the view to improving the situation on the ground,” the agency said in a statement.

During the meeting of ASEAN leaders in Jakarta over the weekend, Mr. Locsin recalled how Manila’s Southeast Asian neighbors came together in support of Filipinos during a major street uprising in the country’s capital region and “called for all parties in Myanmar to restore national unity and resolve the crisis peacefully,” the DFA said.

In February, Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s democratically installed government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, resulting in a massive uprising that triggered a violent crackdown on state dissenters.

More than 500 people in Myanmar have been killed by military forces since the popular revolt began, according to a report by human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The DFA said Myanmar’s Chairman of the State Administration Council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, expressed that Nay Pyi Taw is “focused on restoring peace and stability to improve the current situation.”

It said Mr. Hlaing assured that Myanmar would consider “ASEAN’s positive and sound proposals,” taking into account their local situation.

The DFA earlier said the meeting would also address pandemic recovery efforts, community building programs and other regional and international issues. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza