MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Tuesday urged all military veterans from 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to do their best to promote peace and stability in the region.
"What struck me more was that this association was founded to foster understanding, peace, and dialogue and influence on the policies of our countries towards a more peaceful ASEAN region," Teodoro said in his keynote address during the 22nd General Assembly of the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries hosted by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.
The DND chief emphasized the need to advocate for principled and sustainable peace, and the building of trust between ASEAN countries.
"You are here because you symbolize those who struggle individually to free your peoples from the bonds of colonialism and hindrance to seeking your own aspirations, the liberties of your people, and to provide your children, your grandchildren or maybe your parents did so, to provide them a stable future," he added.
Teodoro also urged the veteran delegates to promote strong multilateral cooperation and support a free and open region that respects the rule of law and resolves disputes peacefully.
"Thus, we also seek the understanding and support of our ASEAN brethren, particularly those who have sacrificed their lives, their blood, and their individual futures for a greater good,” he said.
He said the region needs to continue defending its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and work collectively in respect to each country's individual cultures.
"We have to work together to make this region the most prosperous, and most peaceful in the world. And we can only do that through the collective action of our peoples - respecting ASEAN centrality, respecting individual cultures, respecting each one's individual destinies for a collective good," he said. (PNA)