MANILA, -- President Rodrigo Duterte left on Tuesday for a four-day state visits in Cambodia and Singapore, hoping his trip would reaffirms the Philippines' relations with its two Southeast Asian neighbors.
"In both state visits, I will meet key business leaders to identify mutual beneficial areas of partnership in order to enhance bilateral trade and investment," Duterte said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
President Duterte will first visit Cambodia upon the invitation of Cambodia's King His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni from December 13-14 and then will proceed to Singapore for a separate state visit from December 15 to 16.
In Cambodia, the President will meet the King Cambodia and Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss the ways to further intensifying bilateral cooperation and mutual concerns particularly defense and security, bilateral trade and investment, law enforcement and illegal drugs.
In Singapore, President Duterte will meet with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam to discuss mutual concerns where "we can work together."
"I will further discuss increasing two-way trade investment in Singapore and seek to strengthen defense and security cooperation to address additional and emerging treat that undermine progress," Duterte said.
President Duterte said he will also discuss with his Singaporean counterpart the counter-terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization "as well as war on illegal drugs."
During his twin visits, President Duterte said he would also seek the support of Cambodia and Singapore in the Philippines' chairmanship of the 2017 ASEAN Summit.
"The chairmanship requires that we listen to all our brothers to build a common action and agenda that will strengthen Association Southeast Asia Nations for the benefit of its existence," he said.
As usual, the President said he will meet with the Filipino communities in both countries.
The President's official delegation to Cambodia includes Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao; National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, National Police Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Ambassador to Cambodia Christopher Montero; and, Secretaries Perfecto Yasay of Foreign Affairs, Silvestro Bello of Labor, Delfin Lorenzana of National Defense, Ramon Lopez of Trade and Industry, Wanda Teo of Tourism and Martin Andanar of Communications.
Montero explained that Pacquiao's inclusion to the official delegation will play crucial role in promoting Philippine sports in Cambodia.
"Because it is to them, Pacquiao is an example of Asian making it to the international scene," Montero said.
Meanwhile, Montero revealed that there are nine detained Filipinos in Cambodia due to illegal drug trafficking.
He said five of the detained Filipinos are women drug couriers from South Africa to Cambodia.
Montero said the Filipinos with illegal drug cases are not part of the President's state visit which will center on national security and defense, tourism and sports.
Source: Philippines News Agency