Defense Senior Officials Prepare for Ministers Meeting

Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 12 and 13, defense senior officials of ASEAN, while deciding to review further the proposal to  put up an ASEAN Center for Military Medicine, have agreed to propose to ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting in March the idea of having an ASEAN militaries ready group to respond to disasters and a set of guidelines for engaging ADMM’s individual dialogue partners. While the current modality is for ADMM to meet the 8 dialogue partners as a group during the ADMM-Plus, individual dialogue partners have since been requesting for an ADMM-Plus One informal meetings.
Likewise to be endorsed to the ADMM is the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Utilization of Military Assets for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) so that military equipment could be utilized for disaster response in a more timely manner. Meanwhile, the informal meetings that have been regularly conducted among ASEAN’s chiefs of defense are now being proposed to be formalized by the military heads themselves.

Following the meeting exclusive to the defense senior officials of ASEAN, they next met on February 14 the defense senior officials from ASEAN’s dialogue partners. Known as the ADSOM-Plus, the various delegations exchanged views on regional and international defense and security issues, with the Philippine delegation, headed by Defense Undersecretary for Policy Pio Lorenzo Batino,  underscoring the need to for regional states to work together in upholding the freedom of navigation and lawful commerce. The crafting of protocols of interaction to avoid accidents and untoward incidents at sea among ASEAN defense forces would a step in the right direction.  While condemning acts of violence by extremist groups and expressing concern on the emergence of pandemics, such as the Ebola Virus, the Philippines reiterated the appreciation of the Philippine Government for the assistance and support of the international community for the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan. 

Also emphasized was the need to strengthen and streamline ASEAN-related meetings in order for ASEAN Member States and their partners to work more efficiently towards attaining common goals and objectives but more importantly to contribute effectively towards the establishment of an ASEAN Political and Security Community.