MANILA — Indonesian President Joko Widodo will pay a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacañang, Monday afternoon, for his first state visit to the Philippines upon the latter’s invitation.
In an interview over the state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Saturday, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Widodo’s meeting with President Aquino would revolve around areas of mutual interest and concern between the Philippines and Indonesia.
“We are in discussions to further work out cooperation in various areas of mutual interest and concerns, such as migrant workers, technical-vocational skills upgrading, the combating of trafficking of narcotics, and educational visits,” Lacierda said.
Widodo is scheduled to arrive in the country at 5:00 p.m. Sunday at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. Lacierda said he would be given arrival honors upon entrance in Malacañang on Monday.
An expanded bilateral talk between Indonesian and Philippine government officials will be held as well and President Aquino will host a state dinner in honor of the visiting head of state.
Widodo’s visit to the Philippines from February 08 to 10 is considered by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as ‘introductory’ following his election as Indonesia’s president on October 20, 2014.
“In the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, it is tradition on the part of a new head of state to immediately conduct introductory visits to fellow ASEAN member states,” the DFA said in a press statement.
The Philippines is Widodo’s final stop in a three-country Southeast Asian trip following his state visits to Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, the DFA said.
Indonesia was the Philippines’ 11th largest trade partner in 2013, with total trade amounting to US.62-billion, the DFA noted. Both nations also enjoy excellent bilateral relations and cooperate extensively in numerous areas.
“The two countries recently signed the landmark Agreement Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary, on 23 May 2014, effectively clarifying the maritime boundary between Southern Mindanao and North Sulawesi in Indonesia,” it said.