MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday reiterated the Philippines resolve to strengthen economic ties with Cambodia, noting that officials from the country expressed great interest in signing agreements for cooperation.
Binay issued the statement after he arrived from a visit to Phnom Penh, where he represented President Benigno Aquino III in the state funeral and cremation of the country’s former king and head of state of Norodom Sihanouk.
Sihanouk, 89, died of heart attack in a hospital in Beijing. Cambodia had earlier scheduled an official mourning period for Sihanouk on February 1 – 7.
In his statement, Binay noted that he had a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, during which he conveyed the Philippines’ condolences on the death of the king.
“I also conveyed to His Excellency the great interest of the Philippine government to expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation and exchange, particularly the signing of agreements on combating transnational crimes, rice trading, and cooperation in culture and tourism,” Binay said.
“I assured the prime minister of our strong and firm support for efforts to build closer relations between our countries and our peoples,” he added.
Binay said that Hun Sen has welcomed the signing of the agreements, and also expressed keen interest in the possibility of direct flights between Manila and Phnom Penh.
Binay also said that he held separate meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and minister in charge of the Council of Ministers Sok An and the governor of Phnom Penh Kep Chuktema.
“We discussed cooperation and exchange between the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the Cambodia Scouts, specifically preparations for a Scout Camp and organizing a regional jamboree in Siem Reap,” he said adding that plans to establish closer cooperation between the sister cities of Phnom Penh and Makati were also tackled.
Binay, also the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers concerns, shared that he met with Filipino communities in Cambodia and assured them that their problems, including issues as the processing of their Philippine Overseas Employment Administration documentation and the impact of a weaker dollar on their remittances, would be addressed by the Philippine government.