PH and Malaysia Convene Defense Cooperation Committee

The Combined Committee on Defense Cooperation between the Philippines and Malaysia convened on 8 November 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, where the Philippines and Malaysia updated each other on several issues including the current state and future prospects of their bilateral defense relations. Notable among the issues discussed is the situation in Mindanao and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HA/DR) in the region.

While the Philippines acknowledged Malaysia’s support for the Mindanao peace process, specifically through its leadership of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and facilitation of the talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Malaysia commended President Aquino’s leadership and strong determination to find a long and lasting peace in Mindanao. Malaysia offered socio-economic development assistance to complement the Philippine government’s programs in alleviating poverty in the area.

Both sides were of the view that HA/DR is one key area where the two countries could further cooperate, with the Philippines recommending that both defense ministries deepen cooperation in this matter. Malaysia’s assistance to the victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Cebu and Bohol was likewise acknowledged by the Philippine side.

Meanwhile, the state of defense cooperation implemented by the Military Cooperation Working Group (MCWG) and the Major Service working groups and cooperative activities such as intelligence exchanges, high and working-level visits, and education and training opportunities were found to be robust. Nonetheless, both sides agreed to further deepen the relationship.

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino and Defense Secretary General of Malaysia Y. Bhg. Dato’ Sri Dr Haji Ismail Haji Ahmad co-chaired the meeting.