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Australia congratulates Duterte, vows to work with new PH gov’t

/ 06:45 PM May 20, 2016
Rodrigo Duterte

In this April 29, 2016, file photo, presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte answers questions from the media in Manila, Philippines. AP File Photo

The Australian government on Friday congratulated presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte as it sought stronger ties and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Australia looks forward to continue working with the new Philippines Government to further develop our enduring bilateral relationship and to address shared regional and global challenges,” Australia said in a statement posted on its foreign minister’s website.

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“Our countries share similar values and interests, including a commitment to democracy, and a determination to work for peace, security and economic growth,” the statement read.

The congratulatory message came weeks after the  mayor dared Australia and the United States to cut diplomatic ties with the Philippines after their ambassadors slammed his joke about the jailhouse rape of an Australian missionary.
READ: Duterte dares US, Australia to cut ties

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Australian ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely then said: “Rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere.”

READ: Australian Embassy: Rape, murder should never be joked about

Duterte drew flak for joking that he should have been first to rape Jacqueline Hamill, who was murdered during a prison riot in the Davao City jail in 1989.

Australia also noted that it signed a Comprehensive Partnership with the Philippines in 2015 to “deepen mutual interests in trade, development and regional security,” as it vowed to cooperate with the incoming administration.

“Australia and the Philippines have strong and close people-to-people links; there are more than 250,000 Filipino Australians who call Australia home making a positive contribution to our multicultural society and approximately 10,000 Filipino students study at Australian universities. Since its inception 105 Australian students have studied in the Philippines under the New Colombo Plan,” the Australian government said.

“Australia will work with the new Philippines Government on alignment of our economic partnership to support continued economic, governance and social reforms that are important to inclusive economic growth. We anticipate that the gains of recent years can be sustained and built upon,” it added.

This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Philippines. RAM/rga

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TAGS: Australia, Government, PH, Philippines, presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte
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