KUDAT: Malaysia, in an effort to further enhance relationship with the Philippines, has conducted a bilateral partnership programme in the Province of Palawan yesterday.
The Malaysian delegates, led by Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) deputy chief of intelligence staff Assistant Commissioner Hashim Justin, visited the Mangsee Island, which was located near the maritime border of Kudat, Sabah and southern Philippines.
The programme was also joined by the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
During the function, the delegates met with Province of Palawan Governor Jose CH. Alvarez, who hosted a reception for the group, to discuss several issues including security.
“The programme, among others, was aimed at intensifying the bilateral ties and cooperation that have long existed. Malaysia and Philippines have an excellent relationship in all aspects.
“Furthermore, the people of southern Philippines, especially those residing on Mangsee Island, have close relatives in Kudat and Pulau Banggi,” said Hashim in a statement.
He added that the bilateral programme would look into the various collaborations that can be channelled by Esscom and BIMP-EAGA, particularly in the context of sharing of security information and socio-economic development.
“The economic aspect is relevant to the BIMP-EAGA role, which aims to help develop areas that are relatively isolated and far from administration area such as Mangsee Island that requires economic assistance,” he said.
Present at the event were BIMP-EAGA chairman Datuk Roslan Johar, Mangsee Island village chief Aziz A. Hamzah, and Philippines National Police Provincial of Puerto Princesa director Colonel Gabriel Lopez.
During the visit, BIMP-EAGA handed over contribution in a form of daily necessities to the people of Mangsee Island as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Meanwhile, Alvarez extended its appreciation to Esscom and BIMP-EAGA for their support in making the programme a success.
“This is an excellent programme that allows us to have better discussion and resolve security issues involving those residing around Mangsee Island.
“These people are fishermen, who fish around the border of Malaysia and Philippines. In the midst of fishing, many of them may not be aware that they have entered Malaysian waters.
“So, this programme is hoped to provide opportunity for leaders between these two regions to explore efforts toward strengthening the existing cooperation.” he said.