|His Majesty Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is welcomed by Philippine Air Force Commanding General Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz at the tarmac area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 2 for his 2-day state visit to the Philippines. Photo by Raoul Esperas
Kris Aquino attends state luncheon
MANILA - Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah reaffirmed his country's ties with the Philippines, vowing to work closely with the Philippines in areas like agriculture, defense and energy and to support the peace process in Mindanao.
Brunei is part of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) observing the peace process.
"I would like to commend you, Mr. President, for the initiative you have taken to promote peace and reconciliation in the southern Philippines and I wish to assure you that Brunei will continue to provide assistance in the peacekeeping efforts," Bolkiah said as he offered a toast during the state luncheon hosted by President Aquino in Malacañang.
"As ASEAN chair for this year, Brunei will continue to work closely with the Philippines towards achieving concrete outcomes in economic growth and social growth and promoting regional peace and stability," Bolkiah added.
This is Bolkiah's first visit under the Aquino administration.
"Since my last visit here five years ago, I am much impressed by the progress and development that has taken place in the Philippines," he said.
For his part, Aquino thanked the sultan for hosting some 21,000 Filipinos living and working in Brunei, committing to enhance cooperation with Brunei and other ASEAN nations in various fields, including maritime security.
"This is our pledge: to continue working with our neighbors in implementing the commitments of ASEAN member states in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and in moving forward with negotiations for the adoption of a Code of Conduct. I am confident that, as your country takes on the mantle of chairmanship in ASEAN, the region will move further along the straight path towards harmony and sustainable progress," Aquino said.
Menu and guests
On the menu: pan seared turbot, scallop scale, celeriac carbonara, watermelon carpaccio, butter poach, Guimaras mango and raspberry powder, duck confit ravioli, black truffle and consume jelly; marjoline, caramel parfait, ube and durian ice cream.
Among those who attended the state luncheon were Vice President Jejomar Binay, businessman Washington Sycip, and others.
President Aquino's youngest sister Kris Aquino was seated beside one of the members of the sultan's delegation.
Aquino's sisters take turns in helping entertaining state guests. Last year, Kris was on hand to entertain the entourage of the ladies from the MILF delegation who came to Malacañang for the signing of the GPH-MILF framework agreement.