EXTENDING OUR PRESIDENT’S GREETINGS – After extending mutual greetings, (we previously met years ago when the PM was still Deputy Prime Minister to then PM Mahathir) I immediately extended to PM Najib the warm greetings of our President Duterte and our country’s appreciation and gratitude for Malaysia’s support in the negotiations stage and our invitation to still help in the implementation phase in our Bangsamoro peace process.
The PM immediately said that he is confident that under President Duterte, who comes from Mindanao, we will finally see peace in Mindanao and in the whole country. He reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment to continue its efforts towards peace and security in Mindanao and the wider Asean region.
PM Najib likewise mentioned of possible Malaysian economic contributions to help and support our peace and development efforts, especially in Mindanao.
REGIONAL COOPERATION – PM Najib also emphasized the importance of economic development in Mindanao to ensure long-lasting stability and the need for regional cooperation in order to address the growing threat of Islamic State (IS) extremist elements, kidnap-for-ransom groups, and transnational crimes.
TERRORISM – After briefing the PM on the Philippine peace roadmap, (which he welcomed with positive note), I informed him of recent visit of President Duterte to Sulu to precisely and personally oversee and reiterate his directives to the Armed Forces to deal decisively with the terrorists and the Abu Sayyaf group and the need to instill and promote “moderation” to counter extremism.
SECURE SEA LANES – We pointed out the significance of the recent trilateral (GPH, Indonesia, and Malaysia) meeting of our security sector heads in specifically dealing with the security situation in our common borders and the establishment of a secure sea lane to counter terrorist and criminal threats, especially in our southern borders.
REVITALIZING BRUNEI DARUSSALAM-INDONESIA-MALAYSIA-PHILIPPINES EAST ASEAN GROWTH AREA (BIMP EAGA) – With regard to regional cooperation, we both emphasized the urgent need to revitalize and upscale the activities of BIMP-EAGA, which PM Najib noted as having slowed down perhaps due to the security situation across borders. Specifically, we discussed the need to install and strengthen the rules on movement of peoples, goods, and services from port to port in the south, which he also noted as still lacking and seemingly not even existent.
BREAK IMPASSE – Specifically, I mentioned the need to creatively resolve the long impasse on the planned BIMP-EAGA facilitation center, which got stuck in political undertones for many years up to now; hence, impeding the felt need of accelerating cross-border tourism, trade, and investment. Even the previously existing air and sea links have been adversely affected.
PRESIDENT’S VISIT – PM Najib also welcomed the planned visit soon to Malaysia of President Duterte.
PHILIPPINE DELEGATION – The Prime Minister received our Philippine delegation composed of Philippine Ambassador Eduardo Malaya & his embassy staff; Secretary Ismael Sueno, Department of the Interior and Local Government; Press Secretary Martin Andanar; with OPAPP officials Ms. Irene Santiago, chair of the GPH Implementing Panel, Undersecretary Diosita Andot, Undersecretary Nabil Tan, Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso, Assistant Secretary Acel Papa, Assistant Secretary Rolando Asuncion, Ms. Patmei Ruivivar and staffers Juliet Parungao and Joser Dumbrique. ###