Sultan ends visit to Manila
By M K Anwar in Manila

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar yesterday afternoon ended the State Visit to the Republic of the Philippines.

Accompanying Their Majesties and Her Royal Highness were His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Hafizah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna and other members of the Royal family.

The State Visit, at the invitation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was His Majesty's second State Visit to the Republic of the Philippines since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1984 and it signifies the close bilateral relations that had long existed between the countries.

The bilateral meeting during the visit yielded some significant development which in particular will contribute to enhancement of relations in different fields.

Brunei's involvement in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao will be significantly increased with the additional personnel Brunei has agreed to send.

The Philippines meanwhile has agreed to send its technical experts to assist in Brunei rice production while for the BIMP- East Asia Growth Area linkages, the first chartered flight will be heading to Brunei for the Davao-Brunei-Davao route in April.

Before departure to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the "doa selamat" prayer was read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, the State Mufti.

Present at the airport to bid farewell were Noli de Castro, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, Hermogenes Esperon, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process as Secretary-in-Attendance and other senior officials of the Republic of the Philippines.

Also present at the Airport were Virginia Benavidez, the Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Brunei Darussalam, Malai Hajah Halimah binti Malai Haji Yussof, the Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam in the Philippines as well as officers of the Embassy. - Borneo Bulletin (1st Feb 2009)