PBBM boosts PH partnership with Brunei, Malaysia in Mindanao development

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MANILA— President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. expressed hope that Brunei and Malaysia will continue supporting Mindanao’s development initiatives as he thanked the country’s two Southeast Asian neighbors for bringing stability to the island.

Marcos said this as he welcomed the two countries’ ambassadors to Malacañang on Thursday, March 23.

In his remarks, the President noted how the help of the countries helped uplift the living condition of the people in Mindanao.

“We have to thank Brunei for the assistance and support that we have been receiving in the Southern Philippines, in the Muslim Autonomous Region, which has been a big factor in what we think is going to be a successful Autonomous Region,” Marcos told Brunei’s Ambassador Megawati Dato Paduka Haji Manan.

“I hope that Brunei continues to give our Muslim community in Southern Philippines whatever opportunities are available because that is the best way to assert that having peace is to give a good life to the people, a life that they would like to deserve,” he added.

The President shared with Ambassador Manan that the Philippines has been bringing as much development as quickly as possible in the area that will increase economic activity so people will have good living conditions and all the essentials to turn them away from fighting and secessionist activities.

In response, Ambassador Manan expressed certainty that Brunei would boost cooperation with the southern region, citing certain commonalities.

“And so we hope that we will branch out, you know, expand the existing cooperation to give some – a little bit more opportunities for the south side,” she told the President.

The President and the Brunei ambassador also underscored the importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in resolving regional concerns such as the South China Sea issue and the civil unrest in Myanmar.

President Marcos said although its members sometimes differ in certain areas, they agree that ASEAN remains the “most important mover for all of what we attempt diplomatically in terms of the conflicts that we are seeing.”

Malaysian Ambassador Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino Bin Anthony also presented his credentials to the President, who recognized Kuala Lumpur’s role in bringing peace to Southern Philippines.

Marcos said he expects Malaysia to continue participating in the development of the Bangsamoro region.

“It’s going to be very, very important because as long as we can provide… One of the complaints over the many, many years from the Muslim community in the Philippines was that they are underrepresented and underdeveloped. And they were absolutely right,” he said.

“We are trying to fix that. We are trying to return a balance,” he added.

The Malaysian ambassador said as the region gains stability, he believes that what Malaysia has done so far will sustain the progress of Mindanao.

DOTr: NAIA privatization doable in 2024

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Spread the loveMANILA — The privatization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) may be implemented by the first quarter of 2024, according