Eight Brunei peacekeepers leave for Mindanao
BRUNEI yesterday deployed eight uniformed personnel to join the 11th contingent of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), continuing its commitment to protect the ceasefire between the Philippines military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao, Southern Philippines.
A send-off ceremony was held at the Rimba Air Force Base, where Deputy Defence Minister Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat attached IMT armbands on the peacekeepers prior to their departure.
Dato Hj Mustappa said the Sultanate remains committed to the peacekeeping process through the IMT framework, adding that Brunei is ready to deepen its involvement following an invitation to be a part of the Independent Decommission Body (IDB) to help in the disarming of MILF’s units.
“On the whole, we have indicated positively our readiness to support the framework agreement and the peace process,” he commented.
Led by Lieutenant Colonel Hj Huzaimi Pehin Datu Harimau Padang Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Husin, the latest IMT contingent comprised seven personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and a member of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).
The contingent leader said their goal would be to monitor the peacekeeping process in Mindanao, where the Philippines government and Muslim rebel group recently agreed to a historic peace accord.
“Our goal is to maintain and stabilise the situation there through peacemaking. Alhamdulillah, (the situation is better) compared to 11 years ago,” said Lieutenant Colonel Hj Huzaimi, noting that the peacekeeping process facilitated by IMT has made considerable progress.
He hoped the peace process under the proposed Bangsamoro entity would end decades of conflict and violence in troubled Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the sole RPBF representative in the contingent said he felt honoured to join the year-long deployment to the Philippines on his first overseas mission. Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Hj Mohd Termizi Dr Hj Mohd Yusop explained his tasks as a peacekeeper would be the same as his military peers.
The fifth RBPF personnel in IMT since 2012, ASP Hj Mohd Termizi vowed to carry out his peacekeeping tasks to the best of his ability.
Other members of the contingent are Major (U) Pg Muhd Mujib Pg Hj Umar Ariffin, Major Mohd Azmi Mohd Taib, Captain Mohd Asmafahmi Hazmin Hj Mohd Sultan, Captain Abd Aziz Hj Razali, WO2 Saiful Bahri Hj Latif and WO2 Pg Hashim Pg Abd Rahman.
Present to bid farewell alongside family members during the send-off ceremony was RBAF Commander Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih Abdullah.
Brunei deployed its first IMT contingent in 2004 with 10 RBAF personnel. Headed by Malaysia, their primary mission is to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement inked in 2003.
The Brunei Times