Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, October 6, attended a Royal Banquet hosted by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam marking his golden jubilee of accession to the throne.
His Majesty and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha extended a warm welcome to President Duterte and other foreign leaders and royalties who graced the occasion at Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei.
The President also personally extended his greetings and well wishes to His Majesty for his 50-year-long reign during an audience at the Royal Lounge Room prior to the state dinner.
Wearing a simple Barong Tagalog, Duterte entered the palace hall walking alongside His Majesty. On the other side of the Sultan of Brunei was Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
The President was seated beside Her Majesty during the state banquet.
In an official statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the one-day official visit of President Duterte “reaffirmed the long and enduring ties between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam and renewed the special friendship between the two countries.”
“The President described His Majesty the Sultan as a friend of the Philippines in the truest and most profound sense of the word,” Abella said.
He added that the President personally conveyed the invitation for His Majesty to visit the Philippines again for the ASEAN Summit in November.
Brunei is home to 23,000 Filipinos. Through the years, Philippines and Brunei have developed and maintained an excellent bilateral relations anchored in historical links and friendship.
Political, economic, military and socio-cultural ties between the two countries have continued to vigorously expand in recent years.
Opportunities for closer relations arise from the deepening of friendship and goodwill between His Majesty and past and present Philippine Presidents, the active exchange of visits among government officials, greater economic and business cooperation and increased cooperation in security and regional issues.
Other heads of states, royalties and foreign dignitaries present during the banquet include Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, among others.
Also in attendance were Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa representing His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex were also present representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
President Duterte returned to Davao City following the state banquet.
The 71-year-old Sultan Bolkiah ascended to the throne in October 1967. He is the 29th Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei and comes from a family who ruled the Muslim country for over 600 years.### (PND)