Brunei’s Sultan Bolkiah in Manila; first State Visit under the Duterte administration

President Rodrigo Duterte and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yan Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will hold a bilateral meeting in Malacañan on Thursday afternoon, April 27.

Sultan Bolkiah arrived in Manila on Wednesday night April 26, for a State Visit, ahead of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings.

The President looks forward to meeting His Majesty the Sultan to build on the gains achieved during President Duterte’s visits to Bandar Seri Begawan.

President Duterte and the Sultan of Brunei are expected to discuss ways of further strengthening cooperation in both bilateral, subregional and regional settings.

Among the agenda items are intensifying political and security defense exchanges; enhancing collaboration in combatting terrorism, violent extremism and piracy at sea; and strengthening the campaign against the illegal drug trade.

President Duterte will also highlight Brunei’s crucial role in the pursuit of just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao as well as the importance of increased two way trade and investments, including in agriculture and halal industry development.

“This is a much awaited visit of a very important partner and special friend of the Philippines,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Sultan Bolkiah arrived in the country on board a Boeing 747 and was given full military honors at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Sultan Bolkiah was received by Philippine officials led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Meynardo Montealegre.

A State Banquet in honor of Sultan Bolkiah will be hosted by President Duterte on Thursday night.

It will be recalled that President Duterte visited Brunei in October last year as part of his introductory visit to ASEAN member states.

Sultan Bolkiah’s visit to the country, meanwhile, coincides with the 30th ASEAN Summit.

President Duterte will chair this year’s 30th ASEAN Summit on April 29 involving the Heads of States/Governments of 10 ASEAN Member States, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Preparatory meetings, involving ASEAN Ministers and Senior Officials, takes place from April 26 to 28.

The 30th ASEAN Summit is the first of two leaders-level meetings that the Philippines will convene this year as Chair of ASEAN.

The second one, the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, will be held in November and will be participated in by the ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, such as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.

Malacañang has declared a special non-working day in Metro Manila on April 28.###PND