Brunei to invest in Mindanao’s economy, Islamic literacy to counter violent extremism – DND

The government of Brunei Darussalam will support the economic progress of Mindanao and enhance Islamic literacy in the island as a means to prevent violent extremism and regional terrorism.


(L-R) Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Philippines Megawati Manan and Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (Photo: DND)

This was revealed when Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Philippines Megawati Manan paid a courtesy call on Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday, July 10.

Teodoro and Manan welcomed the close defense relations between Manila and Bandar Seri Begawan during their meeting. 

The DND said this was evident when former Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana went to Brunei last year, and through the dialogue mechanisms and initiatives between the two countries under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM).

Teodoro enjoined Brunei Darussalam to assist in the development of the local economy and industries in Mindanao such as in Islamic banking and investments, and strengthening of Islamic literacy for Filipino “Ulama” or Muslim scholars/clerics especially after the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in 2019.

He underscored the need to enhance Islamic literacy “to avoid misinterpretations and possible radicalization” as he stressed the role of Brunei Darussalam on Islamic education.

“Ambassador Mana reassured Brunei Darussalam's continuous economic support to Mindanao and welcomed the proposal in improving Islamic literacy in the Philippines as a way to counter regional terrorism and violent extremism,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said on Tuesday, July 11.

During their meeting, Teodoro also emphasized to Manan the significant contributions of Brunei Darussalam to the Mindanao peace process.

Military personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) were assigned to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) in Cotabato as part of the peace process in Mindanao.

The IMT was launched in 2004 to oversee the implementation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It is tasked to monitor the security, humanitarian, rehabilitation and development, socio-economic assistance and civilian protection aspects of the agreement.

Meanwhile, the IDB was created to oversee the process of decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons as a key component of the normalization structure in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The military has made strides in fighting violent extremism and terrorism nationwide, particularly in the southern part of the country. In fact, 137 members of local terrorist groups and communist organizations were either killed, arrested, or surrendered to authorities in the first quarter of 2023.

Teodoro also thanked Brunei Darussalam for inviting pilots from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to a simulator training last year to enhance their skills in flying the S-70i Black Hawk aircraft. 

This was done under the implementation of the 2001 memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defense cooperation between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam.