By Jerold Tagbo
Eagle News Service
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday made a tour of one of two Australian warships that are on a five-day goodwill visit in the country.
Duterte boarded the Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Adelaide around 4:45 p.m., and was given the tour by Joint Task Group, Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 Captain Jonathan Earley.
Apart from HMAS Adelaide, which has already been used in disaster relief operations, HMAS Darwin is in the country for the visit that is aimed at strengthening relations between Australia and countries in Southeast Asia.
During the tour, the President was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Gen. Eduardo Año.
“Both our countries have a strategic interest in ensuring maritime security and maintaining a stable region,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said.
Earlier, Gorely and officials of the Philippine Navy welcomed the crew of HMAS Adelaide after it docked at Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor.
A high-ranking official of the warship has Filipino roots, Eagle News learnt.
Chito Irlandez started out as a training officer for the Royal Australian Navy seventeen years ago, and rose from the ranks to become lieutenant commander.
In an interview, Irlandez said he was excited to see his relatives in the Philippines after a long time.
He said Australians generally found Filipinos “hardworking” and dedicated to their jobs.