DFA welcomes Indonesia's offer to help fight extremism

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

January 4, 2018, 1:27 pm

MANILA --  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Wednesday night welcomed the Indonesian government's offer to share its best practices in Islamic education as part of efforts to address and prevent extremism not just in the country but in the rest of Southeast Asia.

“Indonesia is one of the models for the kind of Islamic education that the Philippines and ASEAN can look into to counter the rise of extremism,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.

In a statement, he welcomed the visit of Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi who has earlier met with President Rodrigo Duterte.

The DFA said Marsudi has announced the Indonesian government's full support to the country's efforts in defeating Islamic extremist groups in Mindanao.

“Our Indonesian friends do not want to see another Marawi happening and are offering to help us counter radicalization through education,” Cayetano said.

“We look forward to working not only with Indonesia but also with other like-minded Islamic countries in defeating the threat posed to all of us by extremist groups,” he added.

According to Cayetano, the Philippines has an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indonesia on education and is in discussion with Jakarta on another MOU on Islamic education.

Jakarta’s offer was among the initiatives taken up during the tripartite meetings against extremism held last year in Manila between the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, DFA Acting Assistant Secretary Robert Ferrer said the agency would continue to engage and collaborate with Indonesia on the Islamic education initiative which shall be undertaken by the Department of Education. (PNA)