President Rodrigo Roa Duterte accepted the credentials Monday, December 14, of Vatican’s new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines and Japan’s new ambassador to the country, hoping for stronger cooperation with those states in the coming years.
In accepting the letter of credence of Most Reverend Charles John Brown in Malacañang, President Duterte said he looks forward to working closely with the Holy See to further advance the shared advocacies of migrants’ protection and climate action.
“For the Philippines, these issues are a matter of uplifting human dignity and securing the lives of the most disadvantaged,” he told the new Papal Nuncio.
“There are an estimated 10 million Filipinos overseas with close to 3,500 in the Vatican City. The Holy See’s call for all countries to protect the dignity of human life including of migrants regardless of the status is much appreciated.”
The President welcomed Pope Francis’s declaration of a global climate emergency and the need for a collective response anchored on the principles of equity and social justice.
He also appreciated the Pope’s expression of solidarity and prayers for the Filipino people who were affected by Typhoon Ulysses.
The Philippines and Vatican will celebrate next year 70 years of diplomatic ties and 500 years of Christianity in the country.
The President also welcomed Japan’s new Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko, recognizing Japan as the Philippines’s strategic partner and “one of our most important partners in trade and investments and development cooperation”.
President Duterte described Japan as a friend that is closer than a brother, noting the Asian economic giant occupies a singular and special place in the Philippine foreign relations.
At the same time, he thanked Japan for its assistance in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and for supporting the administration’s development agenda through the years including the Build, Build, Build program.
Japan’s development assistance to Mindanao is also much appreciated, he added.
The Philippines and Japan will mark next year the 65th year of normalization of ties and the 10th year of strategic partnership.
“Let us celebrate our collective gains even as we recommit to our shared aspirations for greater peace, progress and prosperity for our countries and the region,” he said. PND