Australian Embassy
The Philippines

SP130319 - Welcome Address at the ASEAN-Australia Threat & Risk Tactical Action Workshop

Threat and Risk: Tactical Action Workshop
Welcome Address
By His Excellency Bill Tweddell
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines
19 March 2013

Thank you, Commissioner Ricardo David Jr, for your warm comments and welcome.

On behalf of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, I extend a warm welcome to all participants at this workshop and thank you for making the time to attend this event.

The “Threat and Risk: Tactical Action Workshop” provides an exciting opportunity for all countries represented here today to move closer together in our cooperative efforts to tackle regional challenges.

The workshop was endorsed by the 8th ASEAN DGICM (Directors-General of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs) plus Australia Consultation, held in Thailand in September 2012.

It is a sequel, as Commissioner David mentioned, to the “Refused Entry and Removals Workshop”, hosted by Viet Nam and Australia in October 2012. The primary focus of that workshop was to examine the issues involved in the removal and return of irregular travellers, particularly from airports, and the higher-level mechanisms that can be utilised to better effect these removals.

The Threat and Risk: Tactical Workshop will continue that focus, this time examining the treatment of high risk travellers at an operational level.

During this workshop, you will consider strategies to address concerns associated with high risk travellers, who may pose a danger to our countries and our region due to terrorism, people smuggling, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and other transnational crime.

Recently, in the Philippines, the tactical and operational assessment skills of Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials was well-demonstrated when five Philippine nationals were intercepted at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminal 2) as part of a suspected human trafficking operation to South Korea. This great work by BI is an example of a strong threat and risk framework operating at Manila airport.

Gathering representatives of countries with different perspectives to learn from one another and talk through mutual issues of concern is of immense value. We bring different experiences and knowledge to this workshop, but we are all looking to achieve the same outcome.

We all want well-managed borders and a safe environment for our citizens; ASEAN partners in particular can assist each other in achieving this goal.

Our Australian delegates look forward to working with all of you here over the next few days to achieve some good practical outcomes.

I wish you every success and hope you enjoy your experience at the workshop, as well as build some lasting friendships with counterparts from other countries.

I am pleased to declare the Threat and Risk: Tactical Action workshop open.