President Aquino leaves for two-day state visit to Malaysia

MANILA, Feb. 27 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday left for a two-day state visit to Malaysia where he expects to further strengthen ties between the Philippines and Malaysia.

In his departure statement, the President said he will relay the Philippines’ thanks to Malaysia for helping the victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan).

“Dalawang araw po ang itatagal natin sa Kuala Lumpur. Kumpiyansa po tayo na ang sandaling pagbisitang ito ay manganganak ng mas matibay pang kakayahan upang ipagtanggol ang interes ng ating bansa; mas malalim pang ugnayan sa pagitan ng dalawang lahing pinagtagpi ang kasaysayan; at mas marami pang oportunidad para sa mamamayang Pilipino (We will stay in Kuala Lumpur for two days. We are confident the visit will promote our interests and deepen our ties with our neighbor while offering more opportunities for Filipinos),” he said in the statement he delivered at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Joining the President in the visit are Cabinet Secretaries Albert del Rosario (Foreign Affairs), Cesar Purisima (Finance), Gregory Domingo (Trade), Teresita Deles (peace process adviser), Lualhati Antonino (Mindanao Development Authority), Julia Abad (Presidential Management Staff), Herminio Coloma Jr. (Presidential Communications Operations Office), and Jose Rene Almendras (Cabinet Secretary).

He said Malaysia had extended US$ 1 million in aid as well as medical and humanitarian assistance teams, and provided relief goods for those affected.

Also, he cited Malaysia for its role in promoting peace in Muslim Mindanao by supporting the peace efforts between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

On the other hand, he said Malaysia has been a staunch ally of the Philippines in the region, supporting Manila’s stand for a rules-based approach in resolving territorial disputes.

The President also said he will take part in the inauguration of the first Petron gas station in Kuala Lumpur – part of a venture involving US$ 1.2 billion in investments.

“Pagkakataon rin po ang pagbisitang ito upang ipamalita sa mga negosyante ng Malaysia ang tinatamasang pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya. Makikipagpulong po tayo sa mga pinuno ng Maybank, AirAsia, at Genting upang mapag-usapan ang detalye ng kanilang pinaplano o isinasagawang proyekto at expansion sa Pilipinas (The visit will be an opportunity to tell traders in Malaysia of the progress in the Philippines. I will meet with officials of Maybank, AirAsia and Genting to discuss their plans to expand operations here),” he said.

Meanwhile, the President also said he will meet with the Filipino community in Malaysia.

“Sisiguruhin po natin na mahusay na natutugunan ang pangangailangan at napapangalagaan ang karapatan ng mga kababayan nating naroroon (We will make sure their needs are addressed and their rights are protected),” he said. (PNA)