Armed forces trainees to tour growth area

Date June 1, 2009

Forty trainees of the Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College are in Mindanao, the Philippines, as part of their study tour of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area.
They were given an insight into the economic development of the sub-region as part of their course on international relations.

Led by MAFDC commandant First Admiral Datuk Tan Eng Seng, the delegation’s tour of Mindanao included a visit to the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) for a briefing on Mindanao and BIMP-EAGA as a whole.

During the visit, Tan underscored the importance of security for sustainable development of a country and its neighbouring communities.

MEDCo chairman Virgilio Leyretana told the visitors about the need to secure the sub-region’s rich natural endowment, the Coral Triangle. Dubbed the world’s largest biodiversity site, the Coral Triangle spans Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

This tuna spawning area covers almost 650 million hectares, and holds the richest population of corals, fish, crustaceans marine plants, sea turtles and other marine species.

The Philippines and the five BIMP-EAGA countries recently signed the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security at the World Ocean Conference in Manado.

Leyretana described the visit as a milestone in the cultural and diplomatic relations of Malaysia and Philippines, which are further strengthened by their participation in BIMP-EAGA.

“Our exchanges should not be limited to business, trade and tourism, but should include academic studies as well,” said Leyretana, stressing that exchanges like the visit by the MAFDC trainees are long overdue.

Prior to their visit here, the MAFDC delegation visited Kuching in Sarawak, Brunei Darussalam and KK. Their next stop is Pontianak, Indonesia.

The MAFDC was established in 1980 to fill the need for an institution of higher military learning, especially national security.

Source: New Straits Times

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