Friday, June 7, 2024

DND chief seeks Brunei help vs. extremism via Islamic education

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2024): DND chief seeks Brunei help vs. extremism via Islamic education (By Priam Nepomuceno)

COUNTERING EXTREMISM. Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (right) and Brunei Darussalam's defense attaché, Lt. Col. Suzana Binti Haji Antin (left) during the latter's introductory call at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Wednesday (June 5, 2024). Teodoro sought Brunei Darussalam's support in countering violent extremism in the country through Islamic education initiatives. (Photo courtesy of DND)

MANILA – Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has sought the support of Brunei Darussalam in countering violent extremism in the country through Islamic education initiatives.

Teodoro made the remark during the introductory call of Brunei Darussalam's new defense attaché, Lt. Col. Suzana Binti Haji Antin, at the Department of National Defense (DND) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Wednesday, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a news release Thursday.

"In line with the efforts to maintain stability and spur development over the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Secretary Teodoro enjoined Brunei Darussalam to provide education opportunities for Imams in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who are developing their individual capacities on the correct interpretation of the Holy Qu’ran, counter-radicalization, and violent extremism in the country," Andolong added.

The DND chief also emphasized that this would be one of the ways the Sultanate would cement itself “as an exporter of religious scholarship on the basis of non-violence, peace and stability,” as espoused under the concept of “Darussalam” (Abode of Peace).

"Following the state visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Secretary Teodoro recalled the crucial role of Brunei Darussalam towards the attainment of lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao," Andolong noted.

Teodoro also shared the DND’s current implementation of the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC) which outlines the country’s strategic shift to external defense.

"The Defense Secretary saw the opportunity to establish linkages between the cyber defense institutions and defense industries of the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam, and collaborate in strengthening interoperability and overall capabilities of the militaries of the two countries," Andolong noted.

As founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam are committed to working towards the promotion of regional peace and security, and peaceful resolution of differences in the spirit of ASEAN Centrality.

Both countries also commemorated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

Swedish defense chief in PH

On Thursday, Teodoro met with Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson, highlighting the strengthening relations between the two nations.

Andolong said this was the first visit of a Swedish defense minister to the Philippines, which also coincided with the celebration of the National Day of Sweden.

"Both ministers underscored that the security of the Indo-Pacific and North Atlantic are interlinked, which necessitates a deeper understanding of each other’s regional concerns amid shifts in the geopolitical architecture. Minister Jonson also shared Sweden’s increasing interest in deepening its engagement and understanding of the Indo-Pacific region through cooperation with like-minded nations such as the Philippines," Andolong said.

During the meeting, Jonson also invited Teodoro to visit Sweden on a mutually convenient date.

In June 2023, the Philippines and Sweden concluded the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation in the Acquisition of Defense Material (MOU ADM) on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The framework paved the way in advancing cooperation in the areas of logistics, technology research and development, defense industry development, and exchange of related information.

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