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Closing remarks of Chairman Oscar Valenzuela at the conclusion of the Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CWTG) Meeting

APEC 5th Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CWTG) Meeting

May 11, 2015

Paradise Garden Hotel, Boracay

Chairman Oscar Valenzuela

Closing Remarks

 

First of all I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the CTWG to thank the APEC National Organizing Committee and the Conference Management Services for the excellent arrangement so that that we will be comfortable in our CTWG meeting. We would also like to thank the Paradise Garden Hotel for their generous hospitality and the extra attention they gave us during our stay. We must also thank the APEC Secretariat, whose guidance is indispensable for the success of our plans and projects. We must also thank the members of the administrative staff for their logistical preparations that ensured that our meeting will go as planned and without any problems.

During 4th CTWG meeting in Subic Bay we were able to discuss and finalize our Workplan for 2015, which builds upon past efforts of the CTWG, but carrying with it additional features to  make it more responsive to the current terrorism threats confronting  the  APEC region. The CTWG will now endeavor to address the dramatic evolution in the nature of terrorist threats and the growth of violent extremism, and the rising threat of foreign terrorist fighters.

Here in our 5th meeting in Boracay it has been a very fruitful meeting for the past 2 days. The inclusion of the issue of violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighters has triggered an influx of contributions from our member economies. We had a lot of presentations and there was lively exchange of ideas. I am very thankful for all your contributions to the meeting.

We were able to discuss and update our CTWG Strategic Plan 2013- 2017, make an assessment of where we stand in terms of its implementation. We must remain on point and ensure that we are able to follow and attain the objectives of our Strategic Plan. It must be reiterated that his Strategic Plan is a living document, and we must ensure that it will conform to the changing landscape in our midst.

We also agreed that the CTAP updates will be submitted next year before SOM III instead of this year. However, during our meeting here we were able to listen to updates on their CTAP from some member economies

We were also able listen to presentations regarding the threat of foreign terrorist fighters to the region and the response of the different countries. We also listened to informative presentations on and Secure Finance on ISIL financing and on Secure Infrastructure, namely in providing security of critical energy infrastructure, critical information infrastructure, and transportation security. The presentations were very enlightening and we will all be able to use these as reference to look into our own nation’s situation.

Another measure discussed is the concept note on the workshop on foreign terrorist fighter travel. This is planned to be conducted during SOM III in Cebu City. Gauging by the reception and response of the member economies it is apparent that we all eagerly await this activity and are all willing to give it our full support.

In the 4th CTWG meeting in Subic we discussed our Workplan 2015. In the 5th CTWG meeting here we discussed our Counter Terrorism Strategy. In SOM III during the 6th CTWG meeting in Cebu we hope that we can discuss the Terms of Reference for the CTWG, which will be an additional step in our undertakings. And hopefully in the 6th CTWG meeting there will already be a Vice Chair for the CTWG to assist the CTWG in its activities.

It has been a very productive 5th CTWG meeting, and we even had to extend our time yesterday just to finish our agenda. This is an indication that we are all very much interested and involved all our nations are on the issue of terrorism. From the exchanges, the issue of terrorism, especially the threat of violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighters, is becoming a concern. Now we must look at the lessons we have learned in this meeting and apply them in our own economies.

Our nations individually and collectively must show the resolve to combat the threat of terrorism. Such is the difficult task which we all face, combating an enemy which hides in the shadows, acting surreptitiously, and bent on imposing their radical and twisted ideology of violence. Our nations must come together and stand firm in combating the threat of terrorism to protect our people, our way of life, our future.

Thank you all for coming to this meeting and to our beautiful country. I look forward to seeing you in Cebu for SOM III in August of this year. Before you go I would encourage you to enjoy what Boracay Island has to offer, if you have not yet done so. May you enjoy your stay here in Boracay, which is a paradise on earth. I wish safe travel for all of you as you return to your own countries. I hope that your stay in the Philippines has been a memorable one.

Thank you and Mabuhay tayong lahat.

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