THE Philippines on Tuesday called for the release of Myanmar leaders, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, and a dialog among concerned parties to address the worsening political tension in Myanmar.
The foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) held a special meeting through videoconferencing to seek peaceful solution to the crisis in Myanmar.
Founded on Aug. 8, 1967, Asean is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
At least 26 people were reported killed as protests escalated days after the Myanmar military seized power on February 1 and detained Suu Kyi and President Win Myint ending a decade of civilian rule.
“Our call is for the complete return to the previously existing state of affairs,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in delivering the Philippines’ statement at the Asean informal foreign ministers meeting on Myanmar situation.
“This is what is needed. And the first step should be for the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and subsequent dialog among the parties involved in their country’s destiny,” he said.
Locsin said that as part of Asean, “we are deeply concerned about the recent developments in Myanmar.”
“In the Philippines, we have a saying: the hurt of the small finger is felt by the whole body. Myanmar is not a small finger but a big part of the two hands that together make up the family of Asean 10,” he said.
The DFA chief said the Philippines “always stood by Myanmar’s side as it tried to fix its ethnic challenges; the worst ones clear legacies of reckless and opportunistic Western imperialism.”