Bandar Seri Begawan: Brunei Darussalam remains committed to supporting the International Monitoring Team (IMT), of which the Sultanate is part of, along with a number of nations working to aid in the facilitation of a peace treaty between the Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
This observation was made by Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat, the Deputy Minister of Defence, in an interview with the Weekend Bulletin, following the sending-off of nine personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), including one from the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), who will be part of the 10th IMT mission in Mindanao, yesterday.
"Our troops are safe in their team site," he assured.
Since 2004, Brunei's military has sent a total of 10 on-rotation-basis teams and has recently engaged members of the RBPF.
Furthermore, over the past nine years, the country's men have been witness to violence that first erupted in the late 1960s with the formation of the Moro-National Liberation Front (MNLF) that the MILF broke away from.
Though there is still no word as to when the peace treaty will be implemented even with a framework agreement that was announced in 2012, Brunei remains optimistic that the situation will change for the better.
"The current negotiation between the Philippines Government and MILF is going very well especially with the signing of the framework agreement between the two parties concerned," said the deputy minister.
When asked if Brunei would be considering the deployment of other forms of assistance, such as doctors and humanitarian aid, apart from peacekeepers, the deputy minister said: "There is no plan to send any additional services at the moment."
In advocating the role towards promoting and contributing peace and stability in the neighbouring state and region, the 10th IMT has been made responsible to oversee the ceasefire agreement between the Philippines Government and MILF.
Prior to their departure at Royal Brunei Air Force Base in Rimba yesterday, the nine personnel received an official send-off in a ceremony, which was attended by the deputy minister.
During the ceremony, Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa affixed armbands onto the personnel, marking their role and responsibilities for the mission.
The 10th IMT contingents, who are being led by 396 Lieutenant Colonel Khairil bin Haji Ismail, include: 593 Major (U) Sherpor Nezam bin Abd Gapor; Assistant Superintendent Eric Chin; 787 Lieutenant Mohd Hishamuddin bin Haji Marzoki; 821 Lieutenant (U) Wan Muhd Azem bin Haji Md Aminuddin; 9236 Warrant Officer 2 Suhaimi bin Rajab; 10287 Warrant Officer 2 Abu Bakar bin Abdul Rahman; and 16412 Corporal Amirul Nizam bin Kifli.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Khairil, preparations began with pre-deployment training, encompassing teachings pertaining to monitoring missions, roles and responsibilities of the 10th IMT, as well as understanding of issues that are currently observed in Mindanao.
In addition, the squad deployed for the mission had also undergone basic military knowledge as part of their preparations. "It is planned and carried out in accordance to a week-long schedule. Each day, all of us are required to attend the lessons," he said.
The personnel had been shortlisted by their respective military units before a selection process was conducted based on physical training as well as medical formalities.
Also present at the send-off yesterday were Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, the Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces, and Dato Seri Pahlawan Awang Bahrin bin Mohd Noor, the Commissioner of Police.