Rizal, Brunei sultan share a mystery


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Two decades ago, current Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Chair Brunei launched Visit Brunei Year 2001 and Asean Campaign 2002.

Balikbayani (Returning Heroes) Club to encourage Filipinos to host foreign guests in their own homes in the Philippines would soon be launched in Brunei, announced Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta.

Filipino national hero Jose Rizal and Sultan Saiful Rijal, who ruled Brunei after the reign of the first Sultan Bolkiah, share a mystery.

“Nobody knows where he got the family name Rizal. His real name is Jose Mercado. We don’t know if he knew the existence of Sultan Rijal, who lived in the 16th century. It’s one of the mysteries we have to solve,” she said.

Sultan Saiful Rijal propagated Islamic teachings throughout Borneo and the Philippines. Brunei became known as the Islamic Development Center during his reign.

When Brunei hosts 10-bloc Asean regional meeting on October 26-28, 2021, a non-political Myanmar representative will replace its junta leader.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) would lose credibility if the Myanmar junta leader was allowed to attend this week’s virtual meeting.

“We can continue keeping (Myanmar) at a distance…but if we relent in anyway, our credibility as a real regional organization disappears,” Locsin told a Zoom event an Australian think tank hosted.

No progress has been made on a roadmap that the junta had agreed with
Asean in April to restore peace in Myanmar, Chair Brunei’s statement said.

Myanmar and Asean agreed on a Five-Point Consensus at a Jakarta special meeting in April.

The consensus calls for constructive dialogue among “all parties” in pursuit of a peaceful solution and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Asean raised US$10 million in relief funds and medical supplies, including Covid19 vaccines for crisis-hit Myanmar.

The governments of the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and Temasek Foundation International donated items in a US$1.1 million humanitarian assistance already handed over to Myanmar Red Cross in September to provide immediate support for Myanmar’s Covid19 response.

Second batch of aid is underway in October and another delivery will be in November, according to Asean Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi.

“Myanmar has suffered from a third wave of Covid19 and we need to help them,” Lim said.

Myanmar is Asean member state where the military in February toppled elected government and cracked down on opponents.

Philippines received from Brunei 2,000 donated doses of Astra Zeneca Covid19 vaccines on Wednesday afternoon.

Fully-vaccinated Filipinos arriving from Yellow-listed Brunei to the Philippines need to undergo entry, testing and protocols, according to a Philippine Embassy advisory.

They need to undergo quarantine until the release of their negative Re-verse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test taken on fifth day of isolation, the Embassy added.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated travelers entering Brunei from October 15 will undergo isolation for one to seven days instead of 14 days.

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