The Philippines and Saudi Arabia understand the need for greater cooperation to fight violent extremism as the two countries continue to find ways to intensify cooperation and tie-ups.
During their meeting in Riyadh on June 23, Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy to Saudi Arabia Robert E. A. Borje and Mansour Al Shammari, the secretary general of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal), recognized the necessity of sharing best practices in countering the threat posed by violent extremism.
Among the concerns they discussed include the use of cyber space and social media platforms to advance violence and violent ideologies.
Borje visited Etidal in Riyadh as part of the Duterte administration’s thrust of working with other countries and organizations to fight terrorism and violent extremism.
He received a briefing on the center’s approach to analyzing social media and digital activity to detect extremism ideology generation and to promote tolerance and moderation.
During the meeting with Etidal’s secretary general, Borje noted President Rodrigo Duterte’s deep resolve to combat extremist ideology given the Philippines’ experience in Marawi City in 2017.
He said the Philippines understands very clearly that terrorism is not a problem of religion, race or culture, emphasizing the need to continue to promote dialogue, understanding and cooperation among religions, cultures and civilizations to achieve peace and stability between the two countries and the world.
Borje also noted the possibility of triangular cooperation between the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations (UN) as well as the academe and research organizations.
The Special Envoy’s tour at Saudi Arabia’s facility was part of a string of activities during his official visit to the Kingdom from June 19 to 24.