HIS EXCELLENCY MOST REVEREND CHARLES JOHN BROWN (APOSTOLIC NUNCIO-DESIGNATE OF THE HOLY SEE): Dear Mr. President, allow me to convey to you and to all the people of the Republic of the Philippines the very warm personal greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis. As all of us remember so well, Pope Francis visited your nation six years ago — almost six years ago — in January 2015. I know that his visit has remained very much alive in his heart and his mind in these intervening years.
And so, Mr. President, it is a distinct honor for me to present to you my letter of credence as Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of the Philippines as well as the letter of recall of my predecessor. I do so in extraordinary context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has profoundly altered the way in which we live and interact with one another including in our diplomatic practice. Let us pray to God for a speedy end to this pandemic.
Next year 2021 will mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of the Philippines. Certainly much has changed in the world in the 70 years since Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi became the first Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on April 9th 1951. But what has endured are the excellent relations which exist between the Holy See and the Philippines.
On my part, I look forward with enthusiasm to strengthening and deepening the high level of cooperation which already exists between us, especially through our mutual commitment to the common good and to the promotion of the spiritual and moral values which provide every society with its solid foundation.
Next year marks another highly significant anniversary here in the Philippines: the fifth centenary of the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on these shores.
As Pope Francis stated in his address in this very Presidential Palace on January 16th 2015 and I quote: “The Christian message has had an immense influence on Filipino culture. It is my hope,” the Pope said, “that this important anniversary will point to its continuing fruitfulness and its potential to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dignity and aspirations of the Filipino people. May God continue to bless the government and the people of the Philippines in the path of authentic human progress, harmony and peace.” Thank you.
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE: Your Excellency, welcome to the Philippines. I am pleased to accept your credentials as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
Next year, we will be celebrating 70 years of warm and close diplomatic ties and 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.
I look forward to working closely with the Holy See to further advance our 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.
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.
We also welcome Pope Francis’ declaration of a global climate emergency and the need for a collective response anchored on the principles of equity and social justice.
We appreciate Pope Francis’ expression of solidarity and prayers for the Filipino people who were affected by Typhoon Ulysses.
Congratulations, Excellency. I wish you a productive and meaningful stay in the Philippines. Please convey my most respectful greetings to His Holiness Pope Francis. Thank you.
HIS EXCELLENCY KOSHIKAWA KAZUHIKO (AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE OF JAPAN): Excellency, I have the honor to present my letter of credence as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of the Philippines and the letter of recall of my predecessor Ambassador Haneda Koji.
His Majesty the Emperor of Japan has instructed me to convey to you, Your Excellency, His Majesty’s best wishes and sincere hope that our cooperative, friendly relations would be further enhanced in years to come. His Majesty also has expressed his sincerest sympathies to the Filipinos who are affected by COVID-19.
It is my great honor and privilege to be appointed Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines at the time when our ties have culminated into golden age. Our relationship between our two countries is a shining example of cooperation and mutual understanding which have consistently been nurtured by our predecessors.
Excellency, I highly expect the development and the achievement of the Philippines on many fronts and your Excellency’s prominent leadership.
Through the consultation with Your Excellency and your secretaries, I will exert every possible effort to increase trade and investment between our two countries and promote our strategic partnership and cooperation on various issues such as infrastructure and development, agriculture, natural disaster reduction — natural disaster risk reduction, and medical health sector, and Mindanao peace process, and peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.
In closing, next year marks 65th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries. I hope that next year, this memorable year, will further propel our strategic partnership in all aspect. Maraming salamat po.
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE: I am pleased to accept Your Excellency’s credentials as Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines.
As a friend that is closer than a brother, Japan occupies a singular and special place in our foreign relations. Japan is a strategic partner and one of our most important partners in trade, investments, and development cooperation.
Over the years, we have fostered vibrant and fruitful ties — forward-looking yet ever mindful of the lessons of our shared meaningful history.
I thank Japan for the assistance to our COVID-19 response and for supporting our development agenda through the years, including my Build, Build, Build program. Japan’s development assistance to Mindanao is also much appreciated.
Next year, we will mark the 65th year of the normalization of our ties, and the 10th year of our 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.
I wish you, Excellency, a productive and fulfilling assignment in the Philippines. May you enjoy the warm hospitality of the Filipinos.
Welcome to the Philippines, Your Excellency.
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SOURCE: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)