PPA POOL/Noel B. Pabalate
COTABATO CITY—Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim expressed his commitment to continue their role in supporting the Bangsamoro peace process in pursuit of attaining lasting peace and development in Mindanao.
This transpired during his state visit to the Philippines on March 1, at the Malacañang for a bilateral meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
PM Anwar said the assistance will be done through “various capacity-building programs, including through our Malaysia technical cooperation program.”
“On the peace process in Mindanao, I must express again my profound thanks and gratitude. Under your leadership, President, you have seen great strides in this direction. It is only our duty, as a good neighbor, to support and facilitate the process,” Anwar said.
“Malaysia has assured the Philippines of continued help to pave the way to a stable Bangsamoro administration in Mindanao,” he added, stressing that his stands are guided by everything that needs to be done at the multilateral level to support peace in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, President Marcos said both countries have agreed to continue cooperation on political and security matters, including the rekindling of the Joint Commission Meetings and joint initiatives to combat transnational crime and terrorism.
“We have recognized the great contribution that Malaysia has made to the peace process in the southern Philippines. And we hope that this support that they have shown over the past few years will continue and will continue to contribute to the success of the peace process and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” the President said.
Marcos noted the Philippines and Malaysia’s deep and shared historic roots, saying cultures of both countries enjoy kinship.
“As such, we spoke of further deepening our people-to-people ties through continued cultural exchanges and tourism,” President added.
“The Philippines President appreciates Malaysia’s service all this time and asks us to help so that it can be streamlined and speed up the reconciliation process,” President also said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister subsequently met the Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim to discuss Malaysia’s assistance to BARMM.
Accordingly, the meeting was to discuss the assurances about any cooperation so that reconciliation, especially among Muslims in the south of the Philippines, can be well established and ensure success and the future of thousands of former fighters under the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
A recent report by a portal quoted Chief Minister Ebrahim, saying that his group has no problem fast-tracking the process of laying down arms. However, Ebrahim said this effort should coincide with the eradication of private armies of the local politicians.
“One problem we see that increases tension in the region is the private armed groups of the politicians,” CM said.
Moreover, the Malaysian PM also committed to supporting and enhancing cooperation with the Brunei Darussalam –Indonesia– Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and the hosting of the Brunei- Indonesia- Malaysia-Philippines Facilitation Center. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO with reports from national dailies)