POPE Francis has already received the letter of President Rodrigo Duterte for him, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said Wednesday.

In a text message sent to reporters, Dureza said Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay was the one who handed Duterte's letter to the pontiff.

"[The President's letter was] handed to him by Secretary Yasay," Dureza said.

Dureza, along with Yasay and members of the Philippine delegation, went to the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, to see Pope Francis, deliver Duterte's letter, and do the traditional kissing of the Pope's hand.

Dureza also shared the Pope had promised to bless not just the Philippines but also Duterte.

"I said, 'Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness.' Pope Francis [said], 'I will also bless your President,'" Dureza said.

In his letter, Duterte told Pope Francis that the latter's visit to the Philippines in 2015 was best remembered by the Filipino people, which would be considered as "most sincere regard for the welfare of the Church's flock."

"Your Holiness, with profound respect, I have the honor to extend my own and my people's warmest greetings to Your Holiness," the President said.

"Please accept, Your Holiness, the assurances of my highest esteem and respect," he added. (SunStar Philippines)