We seek strengthened existing friendships, pursue new ones – Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines is seeking a deeper and more meaningful engagements with the rest of the world as he addressed the Diplomatic Corps for the first time during the traditional Vin D’Honneur at Malacañang Palace Wednesday.

“Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the Philippines contends with the realities that are our own. We value partners as we seek strengthened existing friendships even as we pursue new ones,” he said during the New Year reception.

“We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals,” the President said.

He also stressed that the Philippines has and will continue to build on the friendships founded on a common objective, shared values and time honored principles of international law.

“In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respect for each other’s sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless. I wish for deeper and more meaningful engagements with our partners and friends. May our relationships continue to prosper for the greater benefit of our peoples,” Duterte said.

The President likewise called on the support of the international community as the Philippines hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year.

“This New Year, the Philippines takes on the ASEAN Chairmanship with renewed fervor, a sense of purpose,” he said.

“It is valor opportunity to exercise leadership to advance the regional development agenda of forging a rules-based community that puts citizens’ welfare at the heart of every initiative. The Philippines counts on your full support,” Duterte said.

The traditional Vin D’Honneur reception is hosted by the President at Malacañang Palace twice a year — one in January and the other during the country’s Independence Day celebrations on June 12.

It is attended by the Diplomatic Corps, leaders and members of Congress, members of the Cabinet, heads of international organizations and other honored guests.