Presidential Communications Office
Presidential News Desk
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
DURING THE ROYAL BANQUET HOSTED BY HIS MAJESTY NORODOM SIHAMONI, KING OF CAMBODIA
[Delivered at Reception Hall, Preah Reach Damnak Serei Mongkol, Royal Palace | 14 December 2016]
Your Majesty, Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia; Samdech Vibol Pheakdey Say Chhum, President of the Senate; Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly; Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia; excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for the warm welcome and the gracious hospitality extended to me and the entire Philippine delegation.
The ties between the Philippines and Cambodia run long and deep.
King Norodom I visited the Philippines in [unclear]. It is said that he was so impressed by our musicians, he arranged to bring the group back to Phnom Penh to form the Royal Brass and Reed Band. It is more contemporary in more contemporary times. The Philippine was honored to host the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk on three occasions.
He and His Majesty, the Queen Mother experienced Philippine hospitality, culture, and cuisine then.
Today, I feel we are honored and we are coming in full circle. The sumptuous Royal Banquet showcases Cambodia’s very best.
Truly, I am humbled and honored Your Majesty. This is a renewal and reaffirmation of a long-standing friendship that augurs well for our bilateral relations.
My visit to Cambodia has impressed upon me that ours is a friendship based on mutual respect and support. It is a friendship with a commitment to a shared future.
It is a friendship that can withstand the challenges of an evolving regional and international environment.
Since the diplomatic practice were formally established in 1957, we have seen great improvements, regular exchanges of visits between leaders and officials [unclear] to forge closer links, bilateral trade, on the other hand is the steady growing businesses that we have.
While an increasing number of Filipino companies are seizing business opportunities in Cambodia, people-to-people exchanges between our ordinary Filipinos and Cambodians alike are intensified through the years.
Their human bridges that link our nations in greater understanding and confidence. We have also been [unclear] together during the most trying times. Over 500 Philippine peacekeepers joined the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, the UNTAC in the 1990s, where they provided assistance in building capacities for law enforcement and securing, [unclear] praises they also did much more.
They have helped in building communities to involvement in rural electrification, English language, education and even in sports, such as boxing and basketball.
They were rewarded by our Cambodian brothers and sisters with kindness and care.
As we face the future that is increasingly interlinked, we draw upon our common historic experiences to help chart a path towards greater peace, progress, and prosperity enjoyed by our people.
The Philippines is fully committed to making full use of its existing bilateral agreements and platforms to move forward our cooperation in many areas including agriculture, tourism, and labor migration.
There is much to be realized in this regard but we have moved several steps forward today to the signing of four agreements: cooperation and combatting transnational crimes, tourism cooperation program, in the field of labor, and on sports and education.
They cover the areas of shared concern and interest. They signal the beginning of our broader collaboration.
As close neighbors, we have the common stake in keeping ASEAN strong, relevant, and responsive. This is especially critical at this time when forces are reshaping the regional architecture and [unclear].
We must seek innovative ways to harness [unclear] and synergies to bring prosperity to our region and to make ASEAN a cohesive and vibrant community.
We count on Cambodia’s active support on the Philippines, as the Philippines takes the chairmanship of ASEAN next year.
In 2017, we will celebrate on major milestones: the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and the 60thanniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Cambodia.
This will be a time of remembrance and looking back, but more importantly, it will be an occasion to look forward to a common future marked by stronger partnership and collaboration.
In this first visit to your beautiful Kingdom, I recall famous [unclear] proverb which says a bunch of sticks cannot be broken but a single stick breaks easily.
Your Honor, your Majesty, your Excellency, we would like to give our thanks for the warm welcome and we will remember today, remember tonight, as a gift from you to the Filipino people.
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