Visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (3rd L) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (1st L) inspect honor guards during a welcoming ceremony at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, the Philippines, March 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines and Malaysia vowed on Thursday to ramp up their cooperation to address security issues in the region, particularly in combating terrorism, piracy and transnational crimes, including the fight against illegal drug trade.
"We resolved to address security issues. We touched on our extensive economic cooperation. We shared the view that its further expansion serves our mutual interests as that of ASEAN and our region," Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said after his meeting with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the Malacanang presidential palace.
During their meeting, Duterte said he shared with Mahathir "the great strides we have achieved towards securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao" in the southern Philippines.
"The road leading to the historic transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region was paved in large part by the support of our international partners. Malaysia occupies a prominent role in this roster of friends," Duterte added.
Mahathir congratulated Duterte "on the successful ratification" of the Bangsamoro organic law and the appointment of members into the Bangsamoro transition authority.
Moreover, Mahathir said he and Duterte talked about security matters.
"Malaysia is committed to take the necessary steps to address the serious issues of terrorism and violent extremism through the trilateral cooperation agreement," he said. Under this framework, Malaysia and the Philippines together with Indonesia, have agreed to undertake maritime and air patrols to tackle the growing security challenges.
Mahathir arrived in Manila on Wednesday night for an official visit.