VICE President Sara Duterte received on Wednesday several foreign ambassadors and other delegates at the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Central Office in Mandaluyong.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa arrived at the OVP Central Office at 9:30 in the morning. The ambassador expressed gratitude to Duterte for her scheduled visit to Japan next week for the state funeral of the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Duterte said that she will also bring with her condolence letters from her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, and President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
"Lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa Japan bilang ating No. 1 Partner in Development, Investment and Trade sa taong 2002-2021, at ang No. 1 contributor natin sa 'Build, build, build' program ng administrasyong Duterte na nakapag-generate ng mahigit 6.5 milyong trabaho sa mga Pilipino mula 2016 hanggang 2020 (I am very gratefuk to Japan as our No. 1 partner in Development, Investment, and Trade from 2002 to 2021, and the No. 1 contributor to the Build, build, build program of the former administration which generated more than 6.5 million jobs for Filipinos from 2016 to 2020)," she added.
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The Vice President also received New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell at around 10:15 a.m., as they talked about bilateral relations between the Philippines and New Zealand.
According to Duterte, Kell told her that their country wanted to focus on Mindanao in hopes to strengthen the peace process, programs for women, agriculture, renewable energy, and capacity-building, learning, and training opportunities for Filipinos.
She also said that he shared about one of the flagship programs of New Zealand in the country, the expansion of the Philippines' digital governance space or "G2G for Development Initiative" which was focused on the Ease of Doing Business and streamlining government services to make the country a better investment destination.
Ambassador Kell also gave the Vice President the New Zealand national rugby union team All Blacks jersey signed by the players.
Thai Ambassador to the Philippines Tull Traisorat also paid a courtesy visit to Duterte, as he extended a congratulatory message to her as Davao City was hailed as a known destination for tourism and trade.
"He also shared the '2 countries, 1 destination' program where there will be coordination between the Department of Tourism to grow tourism in the country, including their construction of Dusit Thani Hotels and Resorts in the country," she said.
With Duterte serving also as the country's Education Secretary, education was also among the topics of discussion between the Vice President and some foreign dignitaries.
Duterte added that the ambassador expressed their country's support for the digitalization efforts for the education sector of the country, as he also thanked the Philippines for its active participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron was also received by the Vice President in her office.
According to Duterte, the ambassador believes that education is a basis for "national competence" and they talked about the experiences of Finland, a member country of the EU, as one of the leading countries for basic education. She said that Véron expressed the EU's readiness to assist the Philippines in strengthening and improving the education sector.
She added that the ambassador also praised the OVP satellite offices in the regions as means to efficiently provide services and assistance from the government to the Filipinos.
In the afternoon, Qatar Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Ali Ibrahim Al-Malki was received by Duterte, where they discussed key programs of interest including education.
She said that they talked about the possible return of flights from the Philippines to Qatar and vice-versa for the mutual economic and tourism gains for the two countries.
Duterte added that the OVP would also be working with the Qatar government for the distribution of FIFA bags to students in need, as part of Qatar's promotion of them hosting the FIFA World Cup in November.
Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran and the Vice president talked about technological innovations for the education sector during his courtesy visit on Wednesday afternoon, specifically on how the Philippines can recover from the losses in education due to the pandemic.
"Masaya din nating marinig mula kay Ambassador Kumaran na maganda ang pagtugon ng India sa medical education ng Davao City— kung saan maraming estudyanteng Indian ang nandoon para mag-aral (We were also glad to hear from Ambassador Kumaran of the pleasant feedback from India of the medical education in Davao City where many Indian students are there to pursue their education)," Duterte added.
United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Loss Carlson was the last diplomat received by the Vice president in her office on Wednesday, as they talked about improving the education system in the country with the Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) 2030 and other services provided by the OVP such as the medical assistance and free rides.
Duterte said that she also showed Ambassador Carlson a sneak peek of other programs set to be launched by the OVP in the coming months.