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    SND encourages ASEAN veterans to continue defending territorial integrity and sovereignty

    22nd Gen Assy of the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries

    Secretary of National Defense (SND) Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. encouraged veteran leaders of the armed forces from 10 Southeast Asian countries to promote regional peace and stability as he keynoted the 22nd General Assembly of the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries (VECONAC), hosted by the Veterans of the Philippines (VFP) at Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

    Secretary Teodoro lauded the VECONAC 2023 objectives to promote the welfare and well-being of veterans and their families.

    “What struck me more was that this association was founded to foster understanding, peace, and dialogue and influence on the policies of our countries towards a more peaceful ASEAN region,” the Defense Chief said.

    The Secretary emphasized the need to advocate for principled and sustainable peace, and the building of trust between ASEAN countries.

    “You are here because you symbolize those who struggle individually to free your peoples from the bonds of colonialism and hindrance to seeking your own aspirations, the liberties of your people, and to provide your children, your grandchildren or maybe your parents did so, to provide them a stable future,” he added.

    Teodoro urged the delegates to promote strong multilateral cooperation, and to support a free and open region that respects the rule of law and resolves disputes peacefully.

    “Thus, we also seek the understanding and support of our ASEAN brethren, particularly those who have sacrificed their lives, their blood, and their individual futures for a greater good,” Teodoro stressed.

    The SND, together with Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) Administrator and Head of Philippine Delegations, and MGen Romeo D. Alamillo AFP (Ret), VFP President and Overall Chairperson of the VECONAC 2023, conferred the awards to the ASEAN veteran leaders.

    Present during the assembly were Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner, Jr., VFP member-veterans, and other DND and AFP officials.

    Teodoro also emphasized that the region needs to continue defending its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and work collectively in respect to each country’s individual cultures.

    “We have to work together to make this region the most prosperous, and most peaceful in the world. And we can only do that through the collective action of our peoples – respecting ASEAN centrality, respecting individual cultures, respecting each one’s individual destinies for a collective good,” Teodoro noted.

    The Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries (VECONAC) was established on 19 December 1980 in Jakarta. The Philippines was among the five founding members, the other four being Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

    Brunei joined VECONAC in 1985, followed by Vietnam in 1997. Cambodia joined in 2010, and Laos and Myanmar in 2012.

    VECONAC aims to promote solidarity, closer cooperation, and understanding among veterans organizations in ASEAN member countries through active dialogue and interaction at its annual meetings, which are hosted in rotation by the 10 member countries.

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