“Excellencies, the COVID-19 pandemic compels us to break with the past. Insisting on the old ways that have perpetuated inequalities within and between nations is simply untenable,” President Rodrigo Duterte said during the Aqaba Process Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 Response on September 2 hosted by King Abdullah II of Jordan and attended by several world leaders, representatives from the United Nations (UN) and international organizations.
“Let us seize this historic opportunity to build a new order: one that is more secure, just, and humane – where there is no room for the barbarity of terrorists and extremist forces,” President Duterte said. “And one that is fair, equal, and sustainable – where progress and prosperity are enjoyed by all.”
“Let us, therefore, honor those who have fallen to the invisible enemy that is the pandemic and the scourge of terrorism. Let us commit ourselves to enduring partnership and cooperation. For indeed, together, we shall prevail,” President Duterte added.
The President noted that no country has been spared by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the first time, all of humanity fear the exact same invisible menace. Not even the Second World War had this most sweeping effect,” he said. “Our urgent common response was to close down borders and impose limits to mobility and trade. The repercussions, as we are seeing now, are grim and far-reaching. We have economies in recession, institutions in crisis, and societies in state of uncertainty.”
“As insecurity rises, the fear of the “Other” and the unknown heightens. This brings out man’s darkest tendencies to look inward and go it alone,” he added. “But the path to recovery requires more openness, deeper solidarity, and stronger cooperation among nations.”
“Now, more than ever, our resolve is stronger: We will not let up in our fight against terrorism. And we will not allow COVID-19 to bring our people to their knees,” the President said.