By Priam Nepomuceno

STRONG DEFENSE TIES. Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Angelito de Leon (right) and Brunei Defense Ministry Permanent Secretary, retired Brig. Gen. Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Alirupendi bin Haji Perudin (left) shake hands during a meeting a the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on June 19, 2024. The DND on Wednesday (June 26) said Perudin and his delegation were in Manila for the 9th iteration of the Joint Defense Working Committee (JDWC) Meeting between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam. (Photo courtesy of the DND)

MANILA – The Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening bilateral defense ties with Brunei Darussalam.

This came following the visit of a high-level delegation of Brunei’s Defense Ministry to the Department of National Defense (DND) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last June 19.

Brunei’s delegation was headed by retired Brig. Gen. Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Alirupendi bin Haji Perudin, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a news release on Wednesday.

He added that the delegation was in Manila from June 18 to 20 to convene the 9th iteration of the Joint Defense Working Committee (JDWC) Meeting between Manila and Bandar Seri Begawan.

“Co-chairing the 9th JDWC Meeting, DND Undersecretary for Capability Assessment and Development Angelito M. De Leon welcomed back Permanent Secretary Alirupendi to the Philippines as he previously served as the Defense Attaché of Brunei Darussalam to the Philippines from 2010-2013. With the reconvening of JDWC Meeting, which was stalled due to several factors since its last iteration in 2016,” Andolong said.

He added that de Leon regarded the meeting as a timely occasion to boost the implementation of the 2001 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation between the two nations.

During the meeting, de Leon commended Brunei Darussalam’s significant contributions to the realization of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB).

“He (De Leon) further enjoined Brunei Darussalam to assist BARMM’s local economy and industries, such as through Islamic banking and investments, as well as enhance Islamic education in Madrasahs to prevent the spread of extremist ideologies, especially in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2025,” Andolong noted. (PNA)