Duterte welcomes his friend, partner and brother Malaysian PM Mahathir

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DAVAO CITY (March 8) — President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday welcomed his friend, partner and brother Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad for his state visit.

In his welcome speech, Duterte said “Welcome back to Manila Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you for accepting my invitation to visit my country as soon after my own visit in Kuala Lumpur last year.”

Duterte described the visit as a valuable opportunity to renew and reaffirm valued relations that must continue to grow in strength in the coming years.

Describing his relationship with Mahathir, Duterte said “I believe there is no better time than now to acknowledge him as a friend, partner, and brother.”

Mahathir for his part thanked Duterte and the Philippine government, “I would like to once again thank you very much for inviting me to visit the Philippines and for the reception given to me and my delegation, especially my wife.”

The Prime Minister added “We are very gladly to again visit the Philippines, because as you know we belong to a certain regional group. But although we belong to a regional group, it is only after we became independent that we know that there are countries within the group.”

Mahathir added “We shall have the capacity to help each other by working together. So my visit is of course in order to strengthen the relationship between Malaysia and the Philippines and also of course to promote the cause of ASEAN.”

Duterte and Mahathir first met here in 1994, when former President Fidel Ramos inaugurated the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) which was considered the growth polygons.

In his speech yesterday, Duterte said “For us Mindanaoans, it was a demonstration of confidence in the potentials of Mindanao and a bold investment for greater progress and prosperity for the region.”

As Mahathir visit the country, Duterte highlighted his speech by talking about the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which according to him signals the culmination of the years of painstaking efforts by many stakeholders within our own country and by our friends in the international community, especially Malaysia. 

For a lasting peace and in Mindanao and in the country, Duterte said the Philippines needs the vital support Mahathir, with Malaysia becoming a facilitator in the peace process.

Duterte shared these remarks when he underscored the values and aspirations of the Philippines and Malaysia as both countries continue to work together in a broader arena to stand together on many issues of common concern.

The return of Mahathir to the Philippines displays his profound understanding and deep appreciation of the ties that bind the Philippines and Malaysia, adding that the Prime Minister shares the conviction that realizing the promise of Mindanao is crucial for all stakeholders in the region, Duterte emphasized.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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