DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 November) – The Philippines and Malaysia have agreed to strengthen joint efforts in dealing with criminality and terrorism along the two countries’ maritime border, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Friday.
In his arrival speech at the F. Bangoy International Airport from his two-day state visits in Malaysia and Thailand, Duterte said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak committed to work with the Philippines on maritime security.
He said his state visit to Malaysia aimed to strengthen Philippine-Malaysian partnership for a safe and secure, stable region, as maritime nations and as members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
He said both he and Razak view cooperation as a key to ensure that sea lanes would not be used for illegal or criminal activities.
“With Malaysia, we committed to explore all available options to ensure greater collaboration and joint coordinated pursuit – interdiction and arrest of criminals and terrorists plying the waterways between our countries,” he said.
Duterte said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will meet with senior officials of Malaysia and Indonesia to discuss the framework for a trilateral arrangement on immediate measures to address security issues in maritime areas of common interest.
He reiterated the country’s stance to address criminality “on land, at sea and between borders.”
He said the Philippines is ready to work with Malaysia and even urged Malaysian business leaders to invest in the country.
“My message to business leaders is clear – the Philippines is open for business and we will provide an environment that is conducive for industries to thrive,” he said.
The president added that Malaysia has renewed its commitment to support the peace process in Mindanao.
“They have committed to sustain the effort in the just and lasting peace in Mindanao. As we proceed with the implementation phase of the peace process, Malaysia will continue to play an important role. The Philippines is ready to work with Malaysia and all partners interested in securing for generations of the Mindanawons, and the Filipinos, to future free from fear and conflict,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)