1 March 2021
Australia will encourage more international support to bring peace and stability to Sulu, Ambassador Steven Robinson told Governor Abdusakur Tan yesterday, during an historic visit to the island. During the 75th anniversary of Australia-Philippines diplomatic relations, this visit reaffirmed the strong links between the two countries’ militaries and the ability of different partners to work together to bring peace – the essence of Mateship and Bayanihan.
Heading one of the largest diplomatic delegation ever to visit Sulu, Ambassador Robinson was accompanied by Western Mindanao Commander General Corleto Vinluan. At Camp Bautista, Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General William Gonzales briefed Ambassador Robinson on the island’s improving security situation and recent successes against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Ambassador Robinson then spoke to former ASG members who have left the organization but need help rejoining society. Australia funds similar work on the neighboring island of Basilan and hopes to do the same in Sulu.
Ambassador Robinson also met Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, and discussed Australia’s work to support peace and stability in Mindanao, and what more could be done to assist Sulu. Mindanao’s security is of great importance to the Philippines, Australia and the wider region, and Ambassador Robinson will encourage other embassies to visit and support the island provinces.