By Genalyn Kabiling
Indonesia remains a “good friend and neighbor” of the Philippines, President Duterte declared last Wednesday amid revitalized economic and security relations between the two nations.
The President met with Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang in Davao City last Wednesday and agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the areas of security, health and education.
“The Chief Executive conveyed the Philippines’ commitment to strengthen bilateral relations with Indonesia further, noting that Indonesia is a ‘good friend and neighbor’ to the Philippines,” a Palace statement read.
“Furthermore, President Duterte vowed the cooperation of the Philippine government’s security forces to jointly enhance the security measures of both countries,” it added.
In the meeting with the Indonesian ambassador, Duterte also expressed “interest in partnering with the Indonesian government to improve the health and education situation in the country.”
Sarundajang has informed Duterte about Indonesia’s plan to build schools and hospitals in the Philippines as well provide assistance in the rehabilitation of Marawi City during their meeting, according to the Palace.
The envoy also lauded Duterte’s efforts to attain lasting peace in Mindanao, as Indonesia renewed its commitment to provide assistance to its development.
Also present in the Davao meeting were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
The President held bilateral talks with Indonesian President Joao Widodo on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore last April.
The two leaders agreed to sustain security in the maritime domains, particularly enhance cooperation in combatting terrorism, piracy and other cross-border crimes.