|Ambassador Nestor Z. Ochoa Receives 8th Brunei IMT Contingent For Mindanao, Attends RBAF/MINDEF Send-Off Ceremony|
Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Nestor Z Ochoa received (9) members of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces 8th International Monitoring Team (IMT) Contingent led by LTC Mohammad Ismaon last 30 August 2011 at the Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.
The contingent paid a Courtesy Call on the Ambassador accompanied by Defense and Armed Forces Attache to Brunei Col. Emmanuel G Cacdac (GSC) PA. The 8th IMT Contingent , composed of two Majors, two Captains, and four NCOs, are slated to replace (9) members of the 7th RBAF IMT Contingent led by LTC Hasmee who are completing a one year tour of duty under the Malaysian-led IMT. Based in Cotabato City, they are assigned an area in Maguindanao and some parts of Zamboanga.
The Ambassador, who spent a number of critical years of military service in Mindanao as a junior officer and later as senior commander with the Philippine Army, expressed his appreciation to the Brunei IMT contingent for their invaluable contribution to peace in Mindanao, specifically with the on-going peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Ambassador also shared his experiences and important insights to the Brunei contingent that could add to their mission accomplishment, as he assured them that Philippine government is sincere in ending hostilities in Mindanao.
He likewise directed an expeditious processing of needed travel documents for the contingent before the start of the Hari Raya holidays in September to allow them to enjoy the celebrations of the end of the fasting month with their families.
Ambassador Ochoa recognized that the IMT has been credited with the reduction of hostilities in conflict areas, and has allowed the return to normalcy of displaced communities to their homes.
Several development projects in the former conflict areas have also been initiated by local and international aid groups or NGOs under the efforts of the IMT to alleviate the plight of displaced communities and to promote an atmosphere of peace while peace negotiations are done by the Government of the Philippines and the MILF peace panels.
More importantly, Ambassador Ochoa cited the commitment of His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to the peace process in Mindanao.
The deployment of the Brunei IMT Contingent since 2004 has been an acknowledged concrete manifestation of this commitment, and the Ambassador is hopeful that a final peace agreement may finally usher in development and prosperity for Muslim communities in Mindanao in the near future.
The Ambassador closed by expressing that the Philippines will always be grateful to Brunei Darussalam for her commitment to peace in Mindanao and for the ASEAN region as a whole.
The Ambassador attended the Send-Off Ceremony for the 8th Brunei IMT Contingent with the Commander, RBAF Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihasan and other Ministry of Defense officials at the Royal Brunei Air Force Rimba Airbase last 08 September 2011.
He also welcomed the 7th Brunei IMT Contingent on their arrival the following day.
Ambassador Nestor Z. Ochoa together with Major General Dato Paduka Seri Aminuddin Ihsan, Commander RBAF and other MINDEF officers during Send-Off Ceremonies for the 8th Brunei IMT Contingent 8 September 2011.