DND Takes Part in Shangri-la Dialogue 2014

When disasters strike, governments must be able to respond effectively. But they must also be able to manage efficiently the volume and magnitude of regional and international assistance. This is one key lesson the Philippines learned from its experience with super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), explains Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop during a special session of the Shangri-la Dialogue that was held in Singapore on June 1. Speaking during a closed-door session on climate change, HA/DR, and security in the Asia-Pacific, Quilop thanked the international community for quickly coming to the Philippines’ side when the typhoon struck, with 29 military contingents taking part in the immediate response effort with around 132 aircrafts and vessels being utilized. He acknowledged the usefulness of military exercises that have previously been undertaken across the region in preparing defense forces to work together in a multi-national setup during times of disasters. But much more needs to be done, highlighting the need for enhanced multi-agency collaboration in times of disasters.

This year’s Shangri-la Dialogue was keynoted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where he stressed the importance of adhering to the rule of law in managing disputes, citing as examples of adherence to the rule of law the Philippines’ action to seek international arbitration over the South China Sea, the signing of a maritime border delimitation agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia.

Organized by the International Institute for Security Studies and held annually in Singapore since 2002, this year’s dialogue provided analysts and academics an opportunity to query defense ministers and other officials speaking during the plenary sessions on their thoughts about various security issues. These include the US contributions to regional security, advancing military-to-military cooperation, perspectives on peace and security by the major powers and ensuring agile conflict management in the Asia-Pacific.

The special sessions on challenges of maintaining and managing open seas; impact of new military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific; climate change, HA/DR and security; ASEAN and the emerging regional security order; and the future of North Korea also provided the participants with a platform for a frank and open exchange of views on these issues.