Malaysian leader to meet Aquino over economy, defense

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Sunday, October 14, 2012


MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak and President Benigno Aquino III will have a bilateral meeting in Malacañang hours before the signing of the draft framework agreement forged by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday.

“In the morning of October 15, they shall discuss the political, economic, and defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Malaysia,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Najib was scheduled to arrive in the country Sunday afternoon with spouse, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, and the Malaysian ministers of foreign affairs, defense and international trade and industry.

This is the first visit of Najib to the Philippines since he assumed office in 2009.

Aquino will host a luncheon in honor of Najib and Datin Rosmah Mansor.

The framework agreement is scheduled to be signed at 1:30 p.m. Monday by the government’s chief negotiator Marvic Leonen and his MILF counterpart, Mohagher Iqbal.

Malaysia has been the third party facilitator of the GPH-MILF peace talks since 2001 and the head of the International Monitoring Team since 2004.

Officials from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) are hoping that the draft agreement will lead to the eradication of such notorious crimes as kidnapping, banditry and extortion in the area.

“We hope that once the peace and order situation in these areas are normalized with the elimination of kidnapping, extortion and plain banditry, we can do away with those negative travel advisories from foreign countries that is giving Mindanao a bad image here and abroad,” said a police official who requested anonymity.

For his part, Armm Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said the breakthrough in the 15-year-old peace negotiations with the MILF “only indicates that the Bangsamoro people will soon harvest the seed of a lasting peace in Mindanao.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay, now in Belgium for a European business summit, said the agreement will likely bolster investments in Mindanao because of expected improvement in security.

“I also hope the agreement will serve as proof that we are serious in our efforts towards creating a peaceful and progressive Mindanao and this, in turn, will encourage the European community to continue to provide ODA (official development assistance) to the Philippines,” he said.

After the signing of the framework agreement, an Executive Order will be issued by the President to constitute a 15-member Transition Commission (TC), eight of which will be coming from the MILF.

The TC will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will be certified as urgent bill by the President and passed by Congress. It will then go through a plebiscite and ratified by people in the proposed Bangsamoro areas.

Aside from his visit to Malacañang, Najib, along with the Malaysian business delegation, will also be meeting top Filipino business executives under the auspices of the Philippines-Malaysia Business Council.

Datin Rosmah, an alumna of the Asian Institute of Management is also scheduled to visit and deliver a speech on Monday afternoon. (HDT/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

Local news

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