'Fruitful' state visits in Cambodia, Singapore

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte bared that he had a fruitful meeting with the leaders of Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Singapore as the country's bilateral ties with its neighboring countries were again reaffirmed, assuring to closely coordinate in advancing the interest of each nation against threats.

In his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport (DIA) from his state visits in the two nations held last December 13 to 16, the President expressed his delight on the outcome of his visits with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"Both visits gave me the opportunity to further strengthen our ties with our key neighbors and partners," Duterte said.

In Cambodia, the President was welcomed by King Norodom Sihamoni. He underscored the value of their long-standing relations and reaffirmed the resolve to broaden collaboration of each country.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, both recognized the importance of working closely together to address the menace of the illicit drug trade as it became the top concern nowadays because of its adverse implication to the welfare of their citizens.

"We also discussed ways of strengthening cooperation against traditional and emerging transnational crimes," he said.

Also, he noted that the Philippines and Cambodia signed an agreement for police agencies to cooperate in combating transnational crimes and strengthen its security against potential threats.

The Philippines is ready to work with all stakeholders in our region and beyond in order to address threats concerning peace, safety and security of our nations.

"The Philippines and Cambodia have a significant portion of our population working overseas. We, therefore, resolved to do all that we can to uphold, promote and protect their rights and interests," Duterte said.

Both country leaders signed a labor agreement to ensure ready assistance to their nationals, particularly in situations of distress and in areas of social unrest and the Executive Programme on Tourism Cooperation and the Agreement on Sports Cooperation that will open new windows of opportunities for greater exchanges and interactions between their peoples.

While in his Singapore visit, he cited that both countries shared similar challenges and has the same commitment to advance the best interest of both countries.

Singapore is the Philippines's fourth largest trading partner and it stands to benefit from a safer and more secure environment for trade and commerce.

Terrorist elements and other radical extremist forces undermine what have been worked out so far. The Philippines and Singapore will work closely to effectively confront this big challenge.

"We will intensify exchanges and coordinate on best practices and lessons learned to enhance our capacities to address terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization," he said, adding that they will use the resources at their disposal including modern technology to get rid of maritime areas of threats such as piracy, kidnapping, human trafficking and gunrunning.

"The efforts to combat illegal drugs will be relentless and comprehensive. With the support and assistance of our friends and the Philippines' new budget, we are on track towards realizing our envisioned holistic strategy to effectively address illegal drugs," he said.

He also reiterated that the country is open for business and that it seeks intensified two-way trade and investments.
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