PH-Malaysia Combined Committee on Defense Cooperation Convenes

The Philippine-Malaysia Combined Committee on Defense Cooperation reconvened for the 5th time in Manila. Hosted by the Philippines, the committee met last 4 November 2011 at the Department of National Defense with PH Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino and Malaysia’s Deputy Secretary General for Policy Datuk Dr. Ismail bin Haji Bakar co-chairing the meeting.

The Committee, established through the 1994 PH-Malaysia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation implements, manages, and monitors defense cooperation between the two countries to include bilateral military activities as well as equipment and technology and defense industry cooperation, which both countries hope would further be boosted through the idea of an ASEAN Defense Industry Collaboration adopted by ASEAN defense ministers when they met in Jakarta, Indonesia last May.

The committee’s meeting also serves as a platform where delegations of the PH and Malaysia exchange views and update each other on regional security matters. Among the issues discussed in this meeting are recent developments in the West Philippine Sea, promotion of practical cooperation among regional militaries through the expert working groups established under the ambit of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus. Malaysia co-chairs with Australia the working group on maritime security and the Philippines co-chairs with New Zealand the working group on peacekeeping operations.

With Malaysia serving as a facilitator in the on-going peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and leads the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the Philippine side gave updates on the current state of the negotiations. Both sides were optimistic that an arrangement acceptable to both the Philippine government and the MILF would soon be forged.

In the meeting, the Philippine and Malaysia delegations took note of the robust defense cooperation activities between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces. Defense cooperation comes in the form of educational exchanges and bilateral training activities as well as intelligence exchanges.

Both sides agreed to hold the CCDC meeting regularly every two years, with the next meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2013.