Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
January 12, 2017

“Ours is a special friendship, whose value is beyond any measure,” said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as he offered a toast to Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan and to the Japanese people in a state banquet at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace.

President Duterte noted his visit to Japan a couple of months ago and said that Prime Minister Abe’s presence this year proves Japan’s intention to strengthen relationship between the two countries. He added, “Tonight is a welcome and much awaited reunion.”

The President continued by reiterating both countries’ joint agreements of strengthening maritime security, economic ties, and cooperation against malicious elements such as terrorists and illegal drugs.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Abe gave thanks for the warm welcome of President Duterte and the Filipino government officials to his delegation, and said that the relationship between both countries is comparable to the relationship of a family.

He added that everyone, including his spouse Mrs. Akie Abe, is looking forward to visit President Duterte’s hometown of Davao City. The Prime Minister ended his message with a toast for the continued strengthening of the bonds between the two countries.

The banquet showcased Filipino cuisine to the guests and included a menu of Davao pomelo and pitik-pitik lobster roll, oven roasted pumpkin soup, duo of sea bass and beef tenderloin, and a symphony of sweet delights. The guests were also entertained with performances from the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, opera singer Lemuel Dela Cruz, and the Kalilayan Folkloric Group.

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