President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and His Royal Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni "exchanged pleasantries" during their meeting on Wednesday, December 14, as part of the Philippine leader's state visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia.?? ??
President Duterte was accorded an arrival ceremony at the Throne Hall, Royal Palace Grounds where he was received by the Cambodian King. The two leaders then proceeded to the Throne Hall for a meeting.?? ??
"We had earlier a bilateral meeting with His Royal Majesty and you see the King of Cambodia is a very cultured person, very intelligent, very regal, very elegant, well respected by the people and I was personally amazed by the fact that our President had measured up to this very important occasion," Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. told reporters in a press briefing at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra Hotel.?? ??
The Cabinet official said President Duterte was also very regal, very elegant, and very gentle during his engagement with His Royal Majesty.???
Yasay thanked King Sihamoni who skipped a retreat to meet with President Duterte.??
??"We were really grateful for His Royal Majesty for receiving our President, especially so that today is a Buddhist holiday here in Cambodia," he said.?? ??
"The holiday is intended to honor the saints of their faith and the King is one of the saints of Cambodia, on account of which he normally is supposed to be in retreat, but he took this is as an exception to meet with our President, whom he considers as a very important person," Yasay said.?? ??
According to Yasay, the Philippines requested only for a working visit but Cambodia elevated it to a full state visit.?? ??
During the same briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said he is scheduled to meet with his counterpart Trade Minister Pan Sorasak of the Ministry of Commerce to discuss "how we can push forward the discussions in ASEAN RCEP (Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) when we reconvene towards March next year." ?? ??
He said possible trade opportunities will also be discussed.??
??"As you know, we are exporting a lot of products to Cambodia, mostly in the areas of automotive parts, ignition wiring, medicaments, a bit of apparel, and then other products that we import as well from Cambodia would be products where they're also good at," Lopez said.?? ??
For her part, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said the Tourism department will focus on air connectivity. ??
??"We would like to have a direct flight from Phnom Penh to the Philippines because right now we don't have one," she said, noting that there are only flights from Siem Reap to Manila.??
??Teo said direct flights from Phnom Penh will grow the tourist arrivals from Cambodia. At present, there are 2,000 to 3,000 Cambodians visiting the Philippines.??
??"Unlike for Filipinos going to Cambodia is around 70,000. Medyo is not balanced," she said, adding that the Tourism department would like to invite members of the media and tour operators to the Philippines "so they would know our country and so they could promote our country."?? ??
During the same briefing, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said President Duterte is "doing very well."?? ??"And whatever pains he's experiencing, is basically as the doctors would say, basically wear and tear... So nothing to be afraid about, nothing to be concerned about. He's doing fine," Bello noted.?? ??
"Mahirap... tanggapin kung ganitong edad naming dalawa, 'yung nagagawa niya, hindi nagagawa ng somebody who is sick. So he must be in his pink of his health," he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency