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Duterte in Brunei for talks with Sultan Bolkiah

/ 02:15 AM October 17, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his address to a Filipino business sector in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. Duterte has been under criticism by international human rights groups, the United Nations, European Union and the United States for the more than 3,000 deaths of mostly suspected drug-users and drug-pushers in his so-called "War on Drugs" campaign since assuming the presidency on June 30. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

President Rodrigo Duterte. AP FILE PHOTO

On his three-day state visit to Brunei, President Duterte will hold bilateral talks with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to further bolster ties with the sultanate.

The President will also meet with the 23,000-strong Filipino community at Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex.

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Brunei was supposed to be the first foreign trip of the President on Sept. 4 but he was forced to cancel it due to the Davao City bomb blast on Sept. 2, which promoted his declaration of a state of lawlessness all over the country.

Two of the President’s top campaign contributors—Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez and Bienvenido Tan III—are the personal asset managers of Bolkiah’s investments in the Philippines.

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In a previous speech, Mr. Duterte said he would rather kneel before the king of Brunei or Thailand than the Americans.

The Philippines, being one of the leading markets in global food production, has seen opportunities in Brunei to establish food and food ingredients companies.

Brunei imports

Brunei imports about 80 percent of its food requirements, with the government subsidizing certain staples such as rice, sugar and milk.

Through the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area region, it has become easier for both countries to work on a cooperation scheme in which Mindanao can be a potential producer and supplier of halal products.

Moreover, the Philippines is reaching out to Brunei for stronger partnerships in agribusiness, tourism, renewable energy and Islamic banking.

Some 33,000 Filipinos are either in a permanent, temporary or irregular stay in Brunei, according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

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Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos in Brunei amounted to $11.34 million from January to July this year, according to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

From Brunei, the President will depart for another state visit to China on Tuesday. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH

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TAGS: Brunei, China, Duterte state visits, Global Nation, Philippine news updates, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
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