Bangsamoro Region

Australian Ambassador makes first visit to Sulu

Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson talks to the soldiers of the 11th Infantry Division in Jolo, Sulu. Ambassador Robinson reiterated that the Philippines and Australia has been an ally for over 75 years and the relationships between the two countries are robust and enduring. Sitting on his right is Western Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. (Photo Supplied)

JOLO, Sulu: The Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson visited the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) on Wednesday and visited also the Province of Sulu for the first time.

AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR & SULU GOVERNOR: Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson meets Sulu Gov. Abdusakur M. Tan at the Sulu Provincial Capitol in Jolo, Sulu. The Australian diplomat exchanges gift with Gov. Tan where the governor gave a Tausug hat made of nito vine to the Australian Ambassador. (A Facebook Photo)

Ambassador had a dinner meeting with WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr.; Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino, Jr., the Commanding General of the Philippine Army; and Ariel Hernandez of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Reconciliation, and Unity. 

During the meeting, Ambassador Robinson reiterated the Australian government’s promise to extend assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the Western Mindanao Command, in the fight against terrorism. 

Thus on Thursday morning, February 25, Ambassador Robinson made his first visit to Sulu. He was accompanied by Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. and other military officers. It was the first time in the history of Sulu that the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines visited the beautiful province of Sulu. 

Ambassador Robinson was welcomed with a Foyer Honor tendered by the officers and enlisted personnel of the 11th Infantry Division. 

He was then briefed with the security updates at the conference room at the 11ID headquarters after which he proceeded to the JTF Sulu gym for a dialogue with the surrendered members of the Abu Sayyaf Group. 

Also, he had a chance to meet with Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan at the Provincial Capitol. During their meeting, Ambassador Robinson expressed the willingness of the Australian government to help the surrendered personalities on their reintegration into mainstream society. 

Australia has established a very good relationship with and has been a long-time ally of the Philippines. Ambassador Robinson reiterated that the Philippines and Australia has been an ally for over 75 years and the relationships between the two countries are robust and enduring.

The Australian government has extended humanitarian aid to the Philippines since then whose primary recipients are the people of Mindanao. 

The visit of Ambassador Robinson demonstrates the significant and sustained contribution of Australia to the Philippines’ peace efforts. 

“This is a welcome development in our continued campaign against terrorism and violent extremism in our area of operation,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

“We expect that more terrorists will compel to surrender to avail of the government’s social aid,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. added.

(Julmunir I. Jannaral/PMT/SRNY/RSP)

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