09 February 2015

Visiting Indonesian President Widodo lays wreath at Rizal monument
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday offered a wreath before the monument of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, at the Rizal Park in Manila.

President Widodo, accompanied by his spouse, Ibu Hajah Iriana Joko Widodo, and the Indonesian delegation, kicked off his state visit to the country with the wreath-laying ceremony at the Filipino hero’s monument.

Receiving President Widodo and his spouse upon arrival at the Rizal Park were former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.The Indonesian leader was accompanied by Mayor Estrada as he laid the wreath at the foot of Dr. Rizal’s monument. During the ceremony, President Widodo was also accorded arrival honors with a 21-gun salute.

President Widodo arrived for his state visit to the Philippines on Sunday at the invitation of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

This afternoon, he will meet with President Aquino to discuss matters of mutual concern, among them issues on migrant workers, maritime cooperation, defense, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges.

This is President Widodo’s first state visit to the Philippines since he assumed the presidency of Indonesia in October 2014. The Philippines is the last stop of his three-country Southeast Asian trip. The Indonesian leader also visited Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

In the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, it is traditional for a new head of state to immediately conduct introductory visits to fellow ASEAN member states.

President Widodo will leave for Indonesia on Monday evening. PND (co)

President Aquino welcomes Indonesian President Widodo to Malacañang
President Benigno S. Aquino III received Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Malacañang Palace on Monday afternoon.

After the customary welcome ceremony at the palace grounds, President Aquino led the Indonesian leader and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo to the Recption Hall to sign the guest book.

The two heads of state then proceeded to the Music Hall for President Widodo’s courtesy call on President Aquino. With them were Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Johny Lumintang, Labor Minister Hanif Dhakiri, Education Minister Anies Baswedan, Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, and Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sofyan Djalil.

Also present during the courtesy call were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emiliio Abaya, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Jr.

President Aquino and President Widodo then proceeded to the Aguinaldo Room for their Expanded Bilateral Meeting.

Meanwhile, the president’s sister Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz gave the Indonesian First Lady a tour of Malacañang Palace. PND (ag)

Philippines, Indonesia strengthen bilateral ties
The Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia have strengthened their bilateral relations with the signing of a joint declaration and several memoranda of understanding (MOUs).

President Benigno S. Aquino III and Indonesian President Joko Widodo witnessed the signing of the joint declaration and the MOUs during their Expanded Bilateral Meeting at the Reception Hall of Malacañang Palace on Monday afternoon.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and his Indonesian counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, signed the Joint Declaration on the Protection of Migrants and Migrant Workers.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Joel Villanueva and Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture Anies Baswedan signed the MOU for the Cooperation in the Field of Technical Vocational Education and Training, which aims to promote mutual cooperation in education, training and research. It also aims to develop benchmarking and comparability of standards and qualifications in priority sectors and conduct capacity-building programs.

President of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) Fermin de Leon, Jr. and Governor of Indonesia’s Lembaga Ketahanan Nasional (Lemhanas) Budi Susilo Soepandji meanwhile inked the MOU for the Cooperation in Education, Research and Training in the field of defense and security studies.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director-General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac and head of Indonesia’s National Narcotics Board Anang Iskandar signed the MOU on the Cooperation in Combating Illicit Trafficking and Abuse of Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors.

Under the MOU, the Philippines and Indonesia will establish and maintain channels of communication between their agencies to facilitate the rapid and timely exchange of relevant information to combat the illicit trafficking of narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors. PND (ag)

Indonesian leader invites President Aquino to attend regional events in Indonesia this year
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in Manila for a two-day state visit, invited President Benigno S. Aquino III to attend the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Asia-Africa Conference and the World Economic Forum (WEF), which Indonesia will host this year.

“I would like to invite President Aquino to attend the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Asia-Africa Conference that will be held in Jakarta and Bandung on the 22nd to 24th of April, 2015 as well as the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2015 that will be held in Bali,” President Widodo said during the joint press conference in Malacañang Palace on Monday.

In April 1955, representatives of 29 governments of Asian and African nations gathered in Bandung, West Java to discuss peace and the role of the Third World in the Cold War, economic development, and decolonization.

The core principles of the Bandung Conference, also known as the Asian-African Conference, were political self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality.

Emerging from colonial rule, the governments of Burma, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka co-sponsored the Bandung Conference, and they brought together an additional 24 nations from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum on East Asia, to be held in Bali, Indonesia will engage political, business, academic and other leaders of society in collaborative efforts to shape global, regional and industry agenda.

Together with other stakeholders, it works to define challenges, solutions and actions, always in the spirit of global citizenship.

The gathering will also serve and build sustained communities through an integrated concept of high-level meetings, research networks, task forces and digital collaboration.

After his meeting with President Aquino, President Widodo said they talked about priority bilateral issues, such as border issues, political cooperation, legal cooperation, and the protection of citizens and migrant workers.

They also discussed the two countries’ cooperation in the economic sector and education, as well as people-to-people exchanges, he said. PND (as)

Philippines expands economic cooperation with Indonesia
President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday that the Philippines and Indonesia will expand their trade and investment ties.

“President Widodo and I exchanged views on economic cooperation, including how to expand trade and investment between our countries. The opportunities are certainly there, especially given that Indonesia and the Philippines are two of the fastest growing economies in the region,” President Aquino said during the joint press conference that followed his Expanded Bilateral Meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, President Joko Widodo.

The Philippines’ full-year gross domestic product (GDP) reached 6.1 percent last year, while Indonesia posted a GDP of 5.02 percent.

President Aquino further said that they also discussed the two countries’ maritime affairs.

“Indonesia and the Philippines are two of the world’s largest archipelagic states, and are among the top five countries with the longest coastlines. Therefore, closer cooperation and coordination between our two countries in maritime affairs is vital,” he said.

Both countries are parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Coral Triangle Initiative. PND (ag)

President Aquino hosts state dinner for Indonesian leader
President Benigno S. Aquino III hosted a state dinner in honor of visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Malacañang Palace on Monday.

“With your visit here, we continue this exciting chapter in the relations between the Indonesian and Filipino peoples,” the President said in his message during the state dinner.

President Aquino said that like his Indonesian counterpart, he has the basic belief that fighting corruption is a fundamental part of both countries’ quest to ensure that democracy must deliver a better life for their people.

“On that note, let me express how much I welcome this opportunity to build on the trust and confidence that I enjoyed with your predecessor, and to ensure that it is carried forward and enriched during your watch,” he said.The President said he hopes the productive discussions he had with President Widodo would give him great confidence for them to work together for the benefit of their people, particularly on areas of the protection of migrant workers and the exploration of new areas in trade and investment.

Aside from the agreement on the protection of migrants and migrant workers, the Philippines and Indonesia also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on vocational education and training.

Similar agreements were also signed on education, research and training, as well as a tie-up on fighting the trafficking illegal narcotics.

In his message, President Widodo said the Philippines is an important ally of Indonesia.

He also noted its recent economic success. The Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

“Allow me to congratulate Your Excellency for all the achievements of the Philippines under your leadership,” he said.

“I believe we have had a productive discussion this afternoon on a range of issues, including reaffirming our commitment to achieve the target of doubling our bilateral trade by 2016,” President Widodo said. PND (as)

President Aquino thanks Indonesian leader for assisting the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda
President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his gratitude to Indonesian President Joko Widodo for immediately sending assistance to the Philippines after the country was hit by Typhoon Yolanda more than a year ago.

In his message during the joint press conference in Malacañang Palace following their Expanded Bilateral Meeting, President Aquino said Indonesia has been a good friend and a strong partner of the Philippines.

Both countries are quick to assist each other during natural calamities, he said, noting that when an earthquake and tsunami struck Indonesia in 2010, the Philippines provided assistance.

Indonesia has always been ready to assist the Philippines during times of disaster, such as when it quickly provided financial and logistical support in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, President Aquino said.“To our Indonesian friends: On behalf of the Filipino people, I express our nation’s gratitude for your help, and I assure you that our nation will always be prepared to repay your kindness,” he said.

“More than 65 years since the formal establishment of our bilateral ties, I believe we can continue to look to the future with optimism, and that our relations will be further strengthened during President Widodo’s administration,” he added.

President Aquino described his discussion with his Indonesian counterpart as fruitful, covering the considerable expanse of cooperative activities between the two countries.

“On top of this, we also spoke about possible areas that could be boosted through our increased cooperation, towards our peoples’ mutual benefit,” he said.

President Widodo arrived in Manila on Sunday for a two-day state visit. He is leaving for Indonesia Monday night. PND (as)