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PH and New Zealand to Co-Chair Cybersecurity Group

With the decision of the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials Meeting (ADSOM) in its meeting last April 24 to positively endorse to the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) scheduled in May 2016 the PH proposal for the establishment of an experts working group on Cyber Security under the ADMM-Plus, the PH and New Zealand will co-chair the working group when it goes online in 2017-2020. The PH has proposed to stand up the working group in recognition of the need to enhance the region’s capacity to address the growing challenge of cyber security, something which was favorably considered at the ADSOM working group level when it met last February in Lau Prabang, Laos. ASEAN processes dictate that proposals to be approved by the defense ministers have to be carefully studied at the ADSOM working group level and positively considered by the ADSOM.

Meanwhile, at the ADSOM-Plus meeting held on April 25, the PH delegation headed by Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop once more stressed that “freedom of navigation” from a Philippine perspective means having Filipino fishermen being allowed to freely navigate through their traditional fishing grounds to earn their living. He also put forth the idea of including non-military vessels under the purview of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) which was adopted in the 2014. The US delegation expressed support to such a proposal which is expected to be likewise taken up by Secretary Gazmin when he takes part in the ADMM next month.

Noting the various requests for informal meetings from ADMM’s dialogue partners, the ADSOM agreed to have the 2015 guidelines for responding to such requests for informal engagements or meetings during the PH Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017. And given the increasing initiatives both at the ADMM and the ADMM-Plus frameworks, the PH delegation pointed out that reviewing such initiatives, taking stock of their progress and assessing which ought to be pursued is now timely.

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