Pre-Departure Briefing of Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Charles Jose on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Visit to Cambodia and Singapore
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacanang
09 December 2016
ASEC. JOSE: Good morning to everyone. I would like to brief you on the President’s State Visits to Cambodia and Singapore.

President Rodrigo Duterte will undertake a State Visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia on December 13 and 14, 2016 upon the invitation of His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni and to Singapore on December 15 and 16, 2016 upon the invitation of His Excellency, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Both trips form part of a series of the President’s introductory visits to neighboring Asian countries.

During his visit to Cambodia, the President will have a royal audience with His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace followed by a State Banquet.

The President and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting, where they are expected to discuss issues of mutual concern, including defense and security relations, bilateral trade, protection of Filipino-Cambodian migrant workers, and cultural and tourism cooperation, among other things. 

The two leaders are also expected to talk about the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship in 2017, which will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-Cambodia diplomatic relations.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Cambodia were formally established in August 1957. Since then, the relations between the two countries have steadily expanded and deepened.

In September 2016, President Duterte and Prime Minister Hun Sen briefly met at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Laos. This visit is the best opportunity for the two leaders to build on what they have started and have a thorough discussion on matters that are mutually important to their respective countries.

The President is also scheduled to meet with the more than 5,000 Filipinos living and working in Cambodia before flying to Singapore.

During his State Visit to Singapore, President Duterte will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The President will also be feted at the State Banquet hosted by Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and meet with the members of the Filipino community in the city-state.

President Duterte and Prime Minister Lee are expected to discuss ways to further increase the levels of two-way trade and investments, strengthen defense and security cooperation, including counter-terrorism and war on drugs, the welfare of Filipinos living and working in Singapore, and the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017.

Prime Minister Lee participated in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting held in Manila in November 2015. The eldest son of Singapore’s founding leader, Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Lee has served as his country’s third Prime Minister since 2004.

On the other hand, President Tan conducted a State Visit to the Philippines in April 2014.

The Philippines and Singapore established diplomatic relations in 1969.

The two countries have enjoyed close relations, both bilaterally and within the context of the larger ASEAN Community.

In 2015, Singapore was the Philippines fourth largest trading partner with bilateral trade amounting to approximately 8.8 billion US dollars.

Moreover, there are an estimated 180,000 Filipinos residing and working in Singapore.

The visit underscores the two countries’ commitment to deeper and more meaningful bilateral and regional relations.


Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning sir.  Is the South China Sea issue among the topics to be discussed in Cambodia? And will the Philippines push for its— for the mention of the arbitration ruling in future ASEAN statements, since it’s Cambodia who’s been blocking the mention of the arbitration ruling?

ASEC. JOSE: Well, the South China Sea issued could be raised ‘no in the President’s talks with the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Maybe under the ambit of regional defense and security issue.

Well, the Philippines and Cambodia have been working closely under the framework of ASEAN ‘no in trying to resolve the South China Sea issue and ASEAN as we all know, they have come up with a statement ‘no during the last ASEAN Summit.

And on the part of the Philippines, we are quite happy with the ASEAN statement on this issue.

But on the part of the Philippines, I think the President will be reiterating the country’s firm commitment to the peaceful settlement of the dispute and one that is also in accordance with the rule of law.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you. Sir, are there any trade deals expected in Singapore?

ASEC. JOSE: There are no agreements expected to be signed ‘no except maybe we are endeavoring to sign a memorandum of agreement on sports cooperation with Cambodia which we are still finalizing.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, which particular sport?

ASEC. JOSE: I think it covers everything. It’s a, I think general framework agreement.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.