President Rodrigo Roa Duterte undertook a successful State Visit to Brunei Darussalam on October 16 to 18, 2016. This is the fourth official foreign trip of the Chief Executive since assuming the country’s highest post.
Coming in directly from Davao on the evening of October 16, President Duterte was met at the Brunei International Airport by Ambassador Meynardo LB. Montealegre, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong (Pehin Abu Bakar), Minister of Home Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, and other officials from the Philippine Embassy and the Brunei government.
President Duterte proceeded to Istana Edinburgh, his Official Residence during the visit, and was welcomed by officials from Brunei’s Royal Household, Department of State Customs and Traditions, Grand Chamberlain’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT), and Philippine Embassy officials.
Following his early dinner at Istana Edinburgh, the President proceeded to the Indoor Stadium, Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex where he was warmly welcomed by 6,000 overseas Filipinos for the gathering with the Filipino Community (FilCom) in Brunei Darussalam.
The next day, President Duterte was welcomed by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, at Istana Nurul Iman, where he was given a 21-Gun Royal Salute by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF). Aside from members of the Royal Family, the President was met by the Cabinet Members of His Majesty the Sultan, Senior Government Officials, and members of the Diplomatic Corps. Prior to the Official Welcoming Ceremony, the President was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), as Personal Representative of His Majesty, from Istana Edinburgh to Istana Nurul Iman.
The Official Welcoming Ceremony was followed by the Audience Ceremony and Bilateral Meeting, respectively, where His Majesty the Sultan, along with other members of the Royal Family, received the President and members of his Official Delegation, including, among others, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay Jr.; Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III; National Defense Secretary Miguel Delfin N. Lorenzana; Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez; Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar; National Security Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr.; Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Jesus G. Dureza; National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao; Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu Abul Khayr D. Alonto; Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano; and Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, Meynardo LB. Montealegre.
During the bilateral meeting, the two leaders discussed general bilateral relations and international issues, including, among others, enhancing political cooperation and bilateral mechanisms; cooperation in maritime security and defense, and sharing of information in combatting piracy; cooperation with Brunei on combatting illegal drugs; the contribution of OFWs in Brunei in the country’s economic development; and strengthening the two countries’ cooperation within the BIMP-EAGA and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
The President thanked Brunei for its continuing support to the peace process in Mindanao and its role in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB).
Members of the Royal Family present during the activities at Istana Nurul Iman included His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the PMO; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the MoFAT.
Later in the evening, His Majesty hosted a State Banquet in honor of the President and his Official Delegation at Istana Nurul Iman. During his titah (royal speech), His Majesty remarked that the historical links and common heritage that the Philippines and Brunei share have paved the way for strong bilateral relations that are demonstrated through cooperation in the areas of trade and investments, labor, defense, health, education, and air services. The Sultan also expressed his appreciation on the contribution of overseas Filipinos in Brunei’s economic development, and added that Brunei looks forward to other continuing initiatives. President Duterte responded, conveying his sincere appreciation to His Majesty for the latter’s crucial role in ensuring excellent relations between Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines at both the policy and personal level. The President thanked the Sultan for the hospitality accorded to overseas Filipinos in Brunei, and indicated that there are still many opportunities for the Philippines and Brunei to further strengthen, such as in the areas of trade and investments, and in political-security cooperation.
Following the conclusion of his State Visit to Brunei Darussalam on October 18, President Duterte departed for Beijing to undertake his State Visit to China on October 18-21, 2016. END