The Embassy of the Philippines in Brunei Darussalam hosted a diplomatic dinner reception to celebrate the 124th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence at the Royal Berkshire Hall, of the Royal Brunei Polo & Riding Club, Jerudong yesterday evening.
Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah was the guest of honour.
The event began with the singing of Brunei Darussalam and Philippines national anthems, followed by remarks from Ambassador of the Philippines to Brunei Darussalam Marian Jocelyn R Tirol-Ignacio.
The ambassador highlighted the Philippines-Brunei bilateral relations which will come full circle with the assumption of President-elect Ferdinand R Marcos Jr as the country’s head of state and government.
“Full diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam were established on January 1, 1984 during the term of President-elect’s father, then president Ferdinand E Marcos.
“During his state visit to Brunei Darussalam on February 23, 1984, then president Marcos declared that the ties between Brunei and Philippines are founded on many affinities moulded by geography, history and culture”.
She added that the president-elect will inherit a close, mature and fraternal relationship between the Philippines and Brunei.
The ambassador also highlighted various bilateral activities between Brunei and the Philippines such as Brunei’s participation in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) to monitor the implementation of peace between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2004; the signing and successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL); S-70i Black Hawk flight simulator training for pilots of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) commenced in Bandar Seri Begawan in November 2021 supported by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Air Force; and the Philippines-Brunei relations in the area of trade and investment through the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation signed in July 2021.
“Several initiatives are also being pursued to further enhance our close economic relations,” said the ambassador, adding that there is continued implementation of the memorandum of understanding on halal industry and halal export development and promotion.
Also expected is the establishment of a private nursing school in BSB later this year as a joint venture between Far Eastern University in Manila, the Ministry of Health and the Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC).
The ambassador also noted that the Philippine presence in Brunei Darussalam is felt strongly through the person-to-person relations maintained by some 20,000 Filipinos residing in the country, mostly overseas workers employed in various industries that contribute to Brunei’s economic development and nation building, thus resulting in the close coordination between the Labour Department at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Philippine Embassy through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to implement compliance with Brunei’s Employment Order 2009.
The maritime trade routes such as the traditional Palawan-Zamboanga-Labuan-Brunei trade route connecting the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam, were also highlighted by the ambassador as connections that find form in today’s Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
“Today’s celebration recognises the importance of the oceans and seas in shaping our histories and highlights the maritime heritage of the Philippines,” added the ambassador.
The event also saw a cake cutting ceremony by Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew, the Philippine ambassador alongside members of the Diplomatic Corps, followed by a cultural performance of traditional dances depicting Philippine rural life shaped by water and sea by the Sarjana Education Group (SEG).
A shell-based craft and jewellery exhibit ‘Pearl of the Orient: The Philippines in a Shell’ was also held during the celebration.