Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
April 28, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte hosted a state banquet for President Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Widodo of Indonesia who arrived in the country for a state visit.

In his toast remarks, the President said he was pleased and honored to host the banquet for the Indonesian leader as he considers the neighboring country a true friend of the Philippines after seven decades of formal diplomatic ties.

“Indeed, more than neighbors and friends, the Philippines considered Indonesia a family. The visit of President Widodo reaffirms the deep historical ties that bind our nation and peoples,” said the President.

As developing nations, President Duterte mentioned that the two countries face similar challenges and issues. He also called for an increased cooperation in maritime issues since the Philippines and Indonesia are both archipelagos.

“In today’s meeting, we covered a wide range of issues including matters pertaining to our political security and economic relations. Views are exchanged on present regional developments. Through collaboration, these concerns on terrorism, violent extremism, piracy in the sea, and illegal drug trade can be addressed,” said the President.

He also conveyed his gratitude for Indonesia’s support of the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship this year.

“We will move forward in pursuit of greater peace, progress, and prosperity for our peoples. We stand ready to work with you to ensure ASEAN remains strong and be the core grabbing force of an emerging regional architecture,” President Duterte said.

In response, President Joko Widodo thanked President Duterte for the hospitality accorded by the Philippine government to his delegation. He cited that the two countries have long been good friends, and that President Duterte and himself share some similarities.

“It is favorable you and I have so much in common. We were both mayors. I believe that you and I are driven by healthy common sense and love for our people,” President Widodo remarked.

He also said that he is excited for the launching of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) vessel that will connect Davao City, General Santos City, and Bitung in Indonesia. The said project is expected to boost trade and relations between the two countries.

“I am hopeful that this new connectivity between the Philippines and Indonesia will foster new opportunities and new businesses,” President Widodo added.

The Indonesian President ended his toast remarks by telling the Filipino people to “regard Indonesia as your closest neighbor in Asia.”

President Joko Widodo would also be attending the 30th ASEAN Leaders’ Summit hosted and chaired by the Philippines.

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