Brunei vows to continue supporting PH's peace efforts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 13) — Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has pledged to closely work with the Philippines to ensure continued peace and stability in the country.

"We will continue to support your government's efforts in ensuring peace and stability through various initiatives in southern Philippines, including our participation in the unification and modification assistance," Bolkiah told President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. during a bilateral meeting on Saturday on the sidelines of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Cambodia.

Marcos recognized the role Brunei played in the Mindanao peace process and told Bolkiah it would continue despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brunei is part of the International Monitoring Team that looks out for security and humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts in Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority is the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2019 through the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

"I'm happy to be able to inform, Your Majesty, that the peace process is proceeding along. Although we have extended the Transition Authority for another three years simply because they were unable to do their job during the pandemic," Marcos said.

Marcos also told Bolkiah about the upcoming parliamentary elections to be held in the BARMM in 2025, on which the Sultan commended the President for his work to attain peace in the region.


In a statement, Malacañang said the two leaders also became nostalgic as they remember the development of the "fraternal bond" between the Philippines and Brunei during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

"We have been witnesses to this growth in our relationship. From the early days when my father came to visit you and I was able to accompany him," Marcos was quoted as saying.

Marcos also said he was "lucky enough" to accompany his father and "enjoy the hospitality" of the sultan.

Bolkiah, on the other hand, recalled hosting the elder Marcos in Brunei during the celebration of the country’s first National Day in February 1984.

"Since then, our relations have continued to grow stronger. There’s an active exchange between us at all levels. There is a large Filipino community in Brunei. They are an important part of our growth and invaluable contribution to our socioeconomic development," Bolkiah was quoted as saying.

The Office of the Press Secretary also said Bolkiah is hoping that more Filipinos will visit Brunei as more direct flights between the two countries become available.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Bolkiah is currently the world’s longest-reigning monarch and the longest-serving head of state.