President Duterte reiterated during the virtual plenary session of the 39th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit the Philippines’ willingness to accept refugees coming from conflict-torn Myanmar.
“We call on all parties to ensure the continued provisions of humanitarian assistance to all–regardless of gender, age, and political color,” Duterte said in his intervention on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
“The Philippines will do its part to help those who are caught up in situations beyond their control. Our doors are open to our Rohingya brothers and sisters and other peoples of Myanmar who seek refuge,” he stressed.
In the same speech, the Philippine leader called on the ASEAN member-states to “stand with Myanmar” as the country continues to deal with its worrisome internal conflict.
Observers believe that the former Burma is headed toward a full-blown civil war.
“We stress that ASEAN’s Special Envoy must be able to visit Myanmar sooner and meet all the parties involved. We need to listen to all sides so we can effectively assist Myanmar in pursuing enduring peace and stability,” Duterte said.
“As we have shown in the past, a consultative approach with Myanmar allows for inroads to be made in democratization,” he added.
It was only last September when the Philippines welcomed an undisclosed number of refugees from Afghanistan following the return to power of the Taliban regime there.
In his speech before the High-Level General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) later that month, Duterte said the Philippines’ acceptance of refugees was “in line with its long-standing humanitarian tradition“.
The country also gave refuge to 1,300 Jews who managed to escape the wrath of Nazi Germany during World War II.