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Duterte, Mahathir discuss terrorism, piracy in high seas


President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday capped his three-day visit to Malaysia with a meeting with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on various issues including terrorism and piracy in the high seas.

Duterte and Mahathir had a one-hour meeting at the Malaysian leader’s office in Putrajaya, south of Kuala Lumpur, a day after they watched the victorious campaign of Filipino ring icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao for the WBA welterweight title against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in the capital.

During the meeting, Malacañang said Duterte and Mahathir “renewed and reaffirmed the long-standing brotherhood and friendship” between the Philippines and Malaysia.

 

 

“President Duterte likewise renewed the commitment to further strengthen defense and security cooperation at the bilateral and regional level,” the Palace said in a statement.

“President Duterte pointed out the need to address terrorism and violent extremism in the region, as well as transnational crime such as piracy and armed robbery at sea and the illegal drug trade,” it said.

The Palace added both leaders stressed the importance of working closely together bilaterally and at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “to achieve shared aspirations of greater peace, progress and prosperity for the Philippines and Malaysia, and greater stability and security in the region.”

Duterte also thanked Malaysia for its “sustained support for the quest for just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” the Palace said.

Malaysia played as third party facilitator in the government's peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which culminated with the signing of an agreement that became the basis for the crafting of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law being pushed by Duterte.

Duterte is set to sign the proposed BBL ahead of his third State of the Nation Address on July 23.

According to Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte presented Mahathir with a portrait of the prime minister during the meeting.

The gift came six days after Mahathir turned 93 years old on July 10.

The President was to return to Manila on Monday night.

Duterte’s visit came upon the invitation of Mahathir, who the Philippine leader congratulated last week in a telephone call for his stunning return to the premiership last May.

An alliance of opposition parties led by Mahathir won big in the elections and ended the six-decade grip on power of the Barisan Nasional coalition of then-Prime Minister Najib Razak, his one-time protégé.

Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister and the world’s oldest head of government, stepped out of retirement to challenge Najib who is now facing charges over allegations he took $700 million from a state fund he set up. — BM, GMA News