Duterte seeks new allies, boosts old ties
THE Philippines will strengthen its friendships with other countries even as it strives to forge new ones, President Rodrigo Duterte said before the diplomatic corps on Wednesday during his first Vin d’Honneur.
“We value partners as we seek to strengthen existing friendships even as we pursue new ones,” Duterte told the diplomatic corps that included Papal Nuncio Guiseppe Pinto, US Ambassador Sung Kim, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev.
“We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals. In truth, we all share the same aspiration of greater peace, progress and prosperity.”
Duterte’s Vin d’Honneur was attended by 94 envoys and heads of international organizations―one of the leanest in recent years.
He said the Philippines was doing its part in addressing the challenges it faced as part of the international community, and particularly terrorism, natural and human-induced calamities, transnational crimes, hunger and poverty and international disputes.
“Indeed, as we strive to be stronger at our core, we hope to do more not just for our own people but for our region and for the world,” Duterte said
He said the Philippines and its partners should work together to achieve common goals.
“We all share the same aspirations of peace, progress and prosperity. In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respects each other's sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless,” Duterte said.
“Friendship after all knows no bounds. The Philippines will continue to build on our friendship founded on common objectives, shared values. Let us together work to further expand the areas of beneficial collaboration.”
While he read his prepared speech in full, Duterte’s casual side popped up when he raised his glass to lead others in the toast. “Kampai! Bottoms up!” he announced before downing his glass of apple cider and drawing laughter from his audience.
The government officials in attendance were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.
Conspicuously absent were Vice President Leni Robredo and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was in Spain.