President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the 12th East Asia Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center on November 14, 2017. King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo

East Asia Summit leaders agree to counter terror propaganda, funding
Audrey Morallo ( - November 16, 2017 - 2:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Leaders who attended the East Asia Summit committed to join in efforts to address conditions that promote the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the region and cut their funding support.

In separate joint statements, the leaders of some Asia Pacific countries condemned terrorist attacks and committed to the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism as part of a broader effort to combat the deadly ideology.

"[They decide] to join efforts to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the region in accordance with international law and principles of the UN Charter," the leaders who participated in the forum said.

READ: Expert warns of further radicalization after Marawi siege

Aside from the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States participated in the forum.

The countries also committed to enhancing cooperation by exchanging experiences and best practices in prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration to counter the ideological challenges of terrorism, terrorist narratives and propaganda.

Amid the use of the internet to spread extremist propaganda, the EAF participants also agreed to counter the use of the web and social platforms for terrorist purposes such as the spread of its ideology and propaganda, radicalization, recruitment and encouragement of individuals to commit violence.

"[They] decide to counter terrorist and violent extremist ideology and propaganda, and promote positive messages of respect, inclusion and moderation, including through developing a compendium of regional counter-narratives and a regional network for civil society organizations to amplify effective messages across the region," the joint statement said.

READ: Philippines is 12th country most affected by terrorism

They also stressed that terrorism and all its forms and manifestations constituted a "global threat" to international peace and security, adding that it should not be associated with any religion, nationality, ethnic group or civilization.

The leaders of the East Asia Summit also agreed to deepen regional cooperation in information exchange on money laundering and terror financing as well as to tackle all sources, methods and channels of financing for terror groups.

"[The leaders] do hereby decide to strengthen cooperation to prevent the funding of foreign terrorist fighters and effectively implement the FATF's international standards for combating money laundering and terrorism financing," a separate statement said.

They also encouraged participating countries to accede to or ratify and implement international counterterrorism conventions and protocols.

READ: Duterte raises Korean peninsula, SCS issues with Brunei, Australia

The use of current and emerging technologies to help disrupt and prevent money laundering and terror finance was also decided by the participating leaders.

"[The leaders] decide to enhance cooperation and collaboration among relevant centers in the ASEAN and other regions to continuously develop new strategies, techniques and tactics to counter terrorism," their joint statement said.

The threat of terrorism was in the spotlight during the recently-concluded ASEAN Summit and related meetings following the five-month battle for Marawi City.

The siege, the most serious terror event in Southeast Asia in the last 15 years, stemmed from an attempt of militants inspired by the Islamic State group to establish its province in Southeast Asia.

It also highlighted the deficiencies of the Philippine military, which had been used to jungle combat, in countering threats to urban areas such as the lakeside city which had a population of around 200,000.

The battle for the country's only Islamic city claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced at least 360,000 residents of Marawi and neighboring towns. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana estimated that at least P50 billion was needed to rehabilitate and rebuild the city.

READ: Marawi rehab to start by mid-2018, says Bangon Marawi chief

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