MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday recalled the vital support given by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed in the peace talks between the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the communist rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Prime Minister Mahathir provided a vital support in this aspect, with Malaysia becoming a facilitator in the peace process, Duterte said in his toast remarks during Mahathir's official visit in MalacaAang Palace.
Duterte described Mahathir as a beloved statesman who shared conviction in realizing the promise of Mindanao. Malaysia has facilitated peace talks since 2001.
Duterte also gave credit to Mahathir and the Malaysian government for their efforts to help the Philippines leading up to the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which establishes a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The ratification of the Bangsamoro Law this year signals the culmination of the years of painstaking efforts by many stakeholders within our own country and by our friends in the international community � especially Malaysia, Duterte said.
Duterte said there are still many obstacles to attaining lasting peace in Mindanao, but also expressed gratitude for Mahathir's push in turning this development into reality.
Certainly, there are still many challenges ahead. But positive transformation would not continue to happen had [the] wheels not been pushed and made to run back then. And in this, the Prime Minister has been a key figure, Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Duterte expressed hope that Philippines and Malaysia will continue to stand together on many issues of common concern and push for collective efforts against criminality at sea, terrorism, illegal drugs and other transnational crimes.
He also looked forward to achieving equitable growth and sustainable development.
Mahathir, meanwhile, vowed to extend any help to resolve some of the problems faced in Mindanao noting that whatever happens in a neighboring country will affect the neighbors just as well.
To the extent that we can be useful, we are always ready to work with our neighbors in order to resolve problems which in a way of course affect us as well, Mahathir said.
The Malaysian Prime Minister also welcomed how the prolonged struggle in Mindanao has ended with peace following the establishment of the BARMM.
Now there is peace in Mindanao and there is a form of relationship between the different parts of the Philippines which augur well --- augur well for the development and growth of the Philippines, Mahathir said.
Source: Philippines News Agency