Thank you, Your Excellency.
The honored members of the Philippine delegation and the members here representing the Malaysian government; the members of the media; ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
First and foremost, I would like to express my appreciation for Their Majesties the King and Queen of Malaysia for their very gracious invitation for me to undertake this state visit to Malaysia.
During our audience with Their Majesties this morning, we spoke of longstanding relations and strong economic linkages between the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as the commonalities between our peoples which make our friendship easy.
This afternoon, the Prime Minister and I recalled his successful official visit to Manila last March. In the spirit of exploring synergies for future partnerships, we agreed to convene the next Philippines-Malaysia Joint Commission Meeting in the near future. I believed the date that we decided upon was around sometime in October.
We do this so that our government agencies will have an avenue to discuss priority cooperation in detail, most especially in the areas of transnational crimes, agriculture, Halal industry, Islamic banking, education, tourism and culture, sports, and the digital economy.
We continue to work on the corresponding MOUs in these fields and have them signed – we’ll have them signed in the near future.
Building on our bilateral relations, our governments commit to closely coordinate efforts to build capacity in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in southern Philippines, in Muslim Mindanao, especially on sectors such as the Halal industry, Islamic Banking, and Food Security.
Malaysia has warmly offered their expertise to train Philippine personnel and officials to strengthen our capabilities in these increasingly important sectors.
And once again, I made an expression of gratitude to the Prime Minister and as well to the King earlier today, expression of gratitude for all the help that we have received from Malaysia in southern Philippines. It has been an important part of whatever success that we might enjoy today. And that has been a foothold, a further foothold for us to use to continue to develop and promote our relations between our two countries.
We also agreed to enhance our trade and investment ties with each other. With Malaysia being one of the leading halal economies in the world, cooperation in this sector would mutually benefit the growth of our respective halal ecosystems.
Recognizing the importance of ASEAN Centrality, we reaffirmed our commitment to support our activities within the context of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
However, having said that, we also agreed that we can explore not only along multilateral lines, all of the issues that are facing us in the region, but also that there is use as well, there is utility as well in us promoting a bilateral relationship, especially between Malaysia and the Philippines and our other partners in ASEAN.
And I think that this is an important aspect – this will be an important aspect to all the issues that ASEAN is presently facing and to all the issues that the member states are presently worrying about.
So I am quite pleased to reiterate my deepest gratitude to the Government of Malaysia and the people of Malaysia for this very warm welcome that you have given us, our delegation, the First Lady.
And as I mark my second year as President of the Philippines, this state visit not only attests to the importance we place on Malaysia as a neighbor and as a partner in ASEAN, but also reaffirms the Philippines’ commitment to further cultivating our bonds and friendship especially as we look forward to celebrating our 60th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations with Malaysia next year.
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