President Duterte received the credentials of the new ambassadors of eight states during a ceremony held on Wednesday night, Oct. 20 at the reception hall in Malacañang.
Welcomed to the country by the Chief Executive were their excellencies Hisham Sultan Al Zafir Al Qahtani of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Michel Parys of the Kingdom of Belgium, Laure Beaufils of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Mohamed Obaid Salem Alqataam Alzaabi of the United Arab Emirates.
Also welcomed to ther tour of duty in the Philippines were their excellencies Marco Clemente of the Italian Republic, Annika Thunborg of the Kingdom of Sweden, Ilan Fluss of the State of Israel, and Leopoldo Lazatin of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Serving as highlight to the event was the envoys’ delivery of their individual messages of appreciation and Duterte’s corresponding responses to them. The Philippine leader’s replies were personalized to each ambassador.
For instance, Duterte noted that it was already Fluss’s second time to be assigned to the Philippines. He said that he hopes the latter would be able to travel the country and “reconenct with the Filipino people”.
On the other hand, Duterte described the presentation of Beaufils’s credentials as “auspicious” since it “happened on Philippine-British Friendship Day”.
The Philippine President also took the event as an opportunity to thank several states for their assistance in helping the country grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We are grateful for your timely COVID-19 assistance through vaccines, medical supplies, equipment and sharing of technical expertise and best practices on pandemic response. This is a partnership that works well for both our countries,” he told Fluss.
To Alzaabi, Duterte said: “I also extend my deepest gratitude to UAE’s generous donations of medical supplies and COVID-19 vaccines which we received last month. I understand your government is looking at ramping up cooperation in the Philippines in addressing the pandemic. This is partnership that works.”
“I thank the Saudi Arabian Government for the hospitality extended to the almost a million Filipinos in the Kingdom, including the free COVID-19 vaccination offered by your government,” Duterte told Al Qahtani.
As for the ambassadors, they colectively expressed elation over their upcoming tour of duty and promised to improve their respective countries’ ties with the Philippines.
“I cannot wait to get started officially in the role, to meet Filipinos from all walks of life, to hear about their hopes and their dreams, to travel to as many of your 7,000 islands in your beautiful country as I can, and to begin the next 75 years of friendship and partnership between the Philippines and the UK,” said Beaufils.
“I would like to assure you, Mr. President, that I will spend more effort in further strengthening and expanding the profound friendship and cooperation between our two countries, both bilaterally and in the multilateral context such as the UN (United Nations) and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” Clemente said.
The envoys had a couple of minutes to exchange pleasantries with Duterte following their individual presentations.