President Duterte officially welcomes Malaysian PM in Malacanang; 2 leaders to give joint statement after meeting

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) walks with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (centre R) as they review an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Malacanang Palace grounds in Manila on March 7, 2019. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)
President Rodrigo Duterte officially welcomes Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad in a ceremony in Malacanang Palace on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Courtesy RTVM/Photo grabbed from RTVM)
Malaysia’s Prime MInister Mahathir Mohamad thanks the head of the honor guards in Malacanang after the welcome ceremony for the 93-year old head of state. (Courtesy RTVM/Photo grabbed from RTVM video)

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte officially welcomed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace Grounds on March 7.

The Malaysian leader is in the country for a three-day official visit, his first in the country since he was reelected as Malaysia’s highest leader last year.

Mahathir, at 93, is considered the oldest sitting state leader, while the 73-year old Duterte is considered the oldest elected Philippine president.

Mahathir, who arrived in the country on Wednesday night, March 6, attended a forum with Filipino businessmen in Makati City on Thursday morning before meeting with Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He then paid his respects to the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park in the City of Manila.

After his meeting with President Duterte, the Malaysian leader and the Philippine president are expected to give a joint statement.

They are expected to talk about the South China Sea, the fight against terrorism and illegal drugs, peace and security in the Southeast Asian region, including the recent developments in Mindanao, particularly the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Malaysia was instrumental in talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2001, and had been supportive of the Mindanao peace process.