17 May 2011 – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario was in Brunei Darussalam for an introductory visit to meet with senior Brunei Government officials last on May 10.

He was met at the airport by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Second Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awang Lim Jock Seng.

During his visit, Secretary Del Rosario was granted an audience with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, where the Secretary mentioned the forthcoming visit by President Benigno S. Aquino III to the country as an opportunity to strengthen Philippine-Brunei bilateral relations.

Secretary Del Rosario conveyed that the new chancery of the Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam, expected to be finished on or before June 2011, symbolized the country’s long-term commitment in fostering and further strengthening relations with Brunei.

SFA_Brunei_Picture2The Sultan and Secretary Del Rosario discussed important developments in Philippine-Brunei bilateral relations, particularly the Grand Mosque in Cotabato City.

This project would be named after the Sultan and a shining testament of the two countries’ close ties, as well as an enduring legacy of Brunei’s commitment to fostering cultural understanding.

The Secretary also reaffirmed the Philippines’s interest in enhancing cooperation in agriculture, one of the most vibrant aspects of the two countries’ bilateral relations.

The Philippine government acknowledged Brunei Darussalam’s support for the peace process and development in southern Philippines.

Secretary Del Rosario conveyed the Philippine Government’s appreciation for the Brunei’s continued participation in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao since October 2004.

He thanked the Sultan for hosting more than 18,000 Filipinos currently residing and working in Brunei and for recognizing their contributions to Brunei’s national development.

Secretary Del Rosario invited Brunei to participate in the public-private partnership (PPP) projects in key infrastructure support facilities, especially in the energy sector. He also highlighted the Roll On-Roll Off (RORO) system’s potential to boost trade and tourism between the two countries, as part of ASEAN’s overall Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC).

Earlier that same day, the Foreign Affairs Secretary was granted an audience by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah.

His Royal Highness was also joined by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ambassador-at-Large, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna,  and the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Honorable Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awang Lim Jock Seng, at Balai Penghadapan in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Secretary del Rosario conveyed that he would build on the work of his predecessor, Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, in further strengthening the two countries relations.

They discussed issues of mutual concern to the two countries including the planned visit to Brunei Darussalam of President Aquino.

After the royal audience, Secretary del Rosario attended lunch hosted by Prince Mohamed at the same venue.

During his visit to Brunei, the Foreign Affairs Secretary also viewed the progress of the ongoing construction of the new Philippine chancery, which would showcase Philippine architectural design in Brunei.  END