MALACAÑANG — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, March 7, expressed his appreciation to the Malaysian government for its unrelenting support in promoting peace and development in Mindanao, stating that Malaysia played a pivotal role in the prominent “roster of friends” in the international community that led to the “historic transition” of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
“I was happy to share with the [Malaysian] Prime Minister the great strides we have achieved towards securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao. The road leading to the historic transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region was paved in large part by the support of our international partners. The good work will have to continue,” the Chief Executive said in the joint press statement with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad.
Also, President Duterte narrated the areas of cooperation the two governments would be pursuing in order to strengthen the bilateral relations of the Philippines and Malaysia, including resolving security issues, particularly on terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes such as the fight against the illegal drug trade.
In terms of extensive economic cooperation, both governments will intensify two-way trade and investments to sustain progress and prosperity.
President Duterte then thanked Prime Minister Mahathir for his robust support of the administration’s Build Build Build program. Hence, the active role of Malaysian companies that participated in the development of the sustainable and smart metropolis of Clark Green City.
“Conscious of [the] synergy and dynamism of our private sectors, our governments have agreed to further enhance trade, investment, and infrastructure development,” President Duterte noted.
Prime Minister Mahathir, on his part, thanked President Duterte for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. He underscored that his official visit in the country signifies “partners for progress, brothers for peace” for both nations.
He also echoed President Duterte’s desire in developing Mindanao and commended him for the milestone of ratifying the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
“I congratulated President Duterte on the success of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the appointment of members into the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. I look forward to the smooth transition of the ARMM through the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao,” the Malaysian leader said.
As both nations are part of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area) sub-regional economic co-operation, the two statesmen also discussed possible investments in tourism, education, and healthcare.
In terms of securing borders, patrolling seas, and counter-terrorism, Prime Minister Mahathir cited that Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia would have collaborative efforts in ensuring regional security.
“The President and I also talked about security matters. Malaysia is committed to take the necessary steps to address the serious issue of terrorism and violent extremism through the Trilateral Cooperation Agreement,” he said.
“Under this framework, Malaysia and the Philippines together with Indonesia have agreed to undertake unilateral maritime and air patrols to tackle the growing security challenges,” he added.
Apart from bilateral cooperation, the two leaders also tackled international mutual concerns regarding the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula.
“We emphasized the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight over the South China Sea, as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes. This is without resort to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law,” President Duterte emphasized.
“We shared the international community’s hope for peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and noted efforts by relevant parties to achieve progress through dialogue,” he continued.
President Duterte and Prime Minister Mahathir vowed to continue to be each other’s partners for progress, utilizing shared aspirations for the greater peace, progress, prosperity, and stability in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. ###PND