BILATERAL TIES. Vice President Sara Duterte receives a jersey from New Zealand Ambassador Peter Kell, with the signatures of their National Rugby Union Team, during his courtesy call on Wednesday (Sept. 22, 2022). Their discussion included the strengthening of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of Office of the Vice President)

MANILA – At least seven ambassadors have vowed to support the Philippines in terms of education, tourism, economy, infrastructure and even achieving long-lasting peace, among others.

During a courtesy call, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte welcomed the ambassadors from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, the European Union (EU), Qatar, India, and the United States (US).

Ambassadors from Qatar, India, and the EU primarily discussed matters on education.

Duterte cited Finland, a part of the EU, for setting a good example worldwide when it comes to quality education. 

EU Ambassador Luc Veron expressed their willingness to help the Philippines improve the quality of its basic education.

“Isa ang karanasan ng Finland sa lagi naming pinag-uusapan sa Department of Education. Nagpahayag naman ng kahandaan ang EU Ambassador na tulungan ang Pilipinas upang mas mapalakas pa ang sektor ng edukasyon dito sa bansa (Finland’s experience has been one of our topics in education. And the EU signified its intent to help the Philippines to boost the education sector),” Duterte said.

Vice President Sara Z. Duterte receives a gift from representatives of the European Union (Photo courtesy: OVP)

The EU believes that the country’s quality of education says a lot about its national competence.

Likewise, Duterte expressed how she plans to show support to Qatar.

“Nagpasalamat ako kay Ambassador [Ali Ibrahim] Al-Malki matapos nitong ipahayag ang suporta ng kanilang bansa sa ating mga programa sa Department of Education…. Makikipagtulungan din ang Office of the Vice President sa Qatar government para sa distribusyon ng ng mga FIFA bags (I thank Ambassador Al-Malki after he expressed support to our country’s educational programs, the OVP will also help the Qatar government to distribute FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] bags),” she said.

Qatar Ambassador Ali Ibrahim Al-Malki talks with VP Sara Z. Duterte (Photo courtesy: OVP)

She noted that these FIFA bags shall be distributed in October to promote Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World cup by November.

Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran, meanwhile, lauded the country’s educational setup, particularly in a medical school in Davao City where numerous Indians are attending.

The Indian diplomat underscored the need for technological innovations in schools, especially now that the country is recovering from the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran signs OVP guest logbook during the courtesy call (Photo courtesy: OVP)

“Ipinahayag ni Ambassador Kumaran ang suporta sa ating bansa matapos nating ibinahagi ang direksyon ng edukasyon at kung paano tayo makababawi bilang sektor mula sa pandemya (Ambassador Kumaran expressed his support after we showed him our directional plans for education and how are we planning to recover from the pandemic),” she said.

Tourism, lasting peace

Other countries also disclosed their desire to help boost tourism in the country. For instance, Thailand lauded Davao City’s iconic landmarks both as a tourist and trade destination.

“Ibinahagi rin niya (Thailand Ambassador Tull Traisorat) ang “2 countries, 1 destination” na programa kung saan nakipag-ugnayan rin sila sa Department of Tourism upang mas mapalago ang turismo ng bansa, kabilang na rito ang pagpapatayo nila sa bansa ng Dusit Thani Hotels and Resorts (He shared the '2 countries, 1 destination' program where they have coordinated with the Department of Tourism to further boost the country’s tourism, including the establishment of the Dusit Thani Hotels and Resorts),” Duterte said.

Thailand Ambassador Tull Traisorat signs the OVP logbook during the courtesy call (Photo courtesy: OVP)

Likewise, New Zealand Ambassador Peter Kell noted that they are eyeing to help Mindanao achieve long-lasting peace to advance its regional development.

“Sinabi niya sa akin na ang kanilang bansa ay malaki ang focus sa Mindanao sa layuning mas palakasin pa ang peace process, mga programa para sa kababaihan, agrikultura, renewable energy at capability building, learning and training opportunities para sa mga Pilipino (He said that the New Zealand is focusing on Mindanao, in aim to strengthen its peace process, programs for women, agriculture, and renewable energy, capacity building, learning and training opportunities for Filipinos),” she said.

Ambassadors from the US and Japan were also welcomed by the Vice President, as she shared the ongoing programs and services of her office, including medical and burial assistance and free rides programs, as well as the livelihood assistance program which will be launched in the coming months. 

Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, together with US Ambassador MaryKay Loss Carlson and other representatives (Photo courtesy: OVP)
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa speaks with Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, acknowledging each others' partnership particularly in infrastructure projects (Photo courtesy: OVP)

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa, meanwhile, thanked Duterte for her scheduled visit to Japan next week for the state funeral of late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe died on July 8 after he was shot by a 41-year-old man from behind using an improvised handgun while he was speaking during a campaign rally in Nara City two days before the national elections.

Both President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Duterte earlier expressed their “profound condolences to the bereaved family of Abe. (PNA)