Sen. Risa Hontiveros aired her support for the Secretary of Foreign Affairs’ participation in the upcoming emergency Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meant to address the political and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

She said the Philippines, being a founding member of the ASEAN, should be actively involved in ensuring to uphold just peace in the region. 

“Mass atrocities should be nothing but a thing of the past,” she said.

She said it is heartbreaking to see scenes and hear reports of the deaths in Myanmar. 

“The vicious bloodbath against peaceful protesters also goes against ASEAN’s pursuit of democratic forms of governance and the attendant respect for human rights,” noted the opposition senator.

“As the emergency meeting commences, there must be a robust action that could lead to a more free, more just, and more humane Myanmar. The doctrine of Responsibility to Protect commands all of us.”

She also said it is simply in the best interest of the Philippines and the entire ASEAN that Myanmar’s junta stops unleashing violence against the people. 

“If this bloodshed persists, citizens of Myanmar will continue to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring nations. The spread of COVID-19 due to this potential displacement also poses a great challenge,” said  Hontiveros.

She related that over  570 people have been killed by the junta since the coup and more than 3,000 have been put in jail. 

Despite these brutal attacks of the military, she said citizens of Myanmar have continued to resist. “They have been risking their lives to preserve and defend the democracy that they have worked so hard to achieve. The world is witness to their courage.”

“The ASEAN’s shared belief in democracy only means that Myanmar’s fight is our fight, too,” she added.