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Duterte aims to boost KL ties

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – the official visit of President Duterte here is being considered as an opportunity to bring to the “next level” the relationship between Malaysia and the Philippines.

Duterte, as part of his two-day visit, is scheduled to meet Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to take stock of the existing bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

According to Ambassador Jose Eduardo Malaya hopes are now high among Filipino overseas migrant workers in this country as they look forward to the Philippine government’s stronger protective mechanisms for them.

“We at the embassy and the Filipino community, we are very excited to see the president and the Malaysian government has already issued their announcement about the visit and they said that the relations is very warm and cordial,” said Malaya.

Malaya noted that while this is just an “a mere introductory visit,” both sides have taken steps to harness this opportunity as a platform to deepen relations.

And while there are a lot of challenges, he said these can be expected because Philippines and Malaysia are next door to each other.

Both leaders will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

“The visit will provide the opportunity for both leaders to explore ways to further strengthen the existing cooperation between the two countries,” a statement by Malaysia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Philippine labor attaché in Malaysia Elizabeth Marie Estrada also cited the significance of the president’s visit, which she said is seen positively by Filipino workers in the country.

Estrada, who is also the head of Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) here, noted that most of the 60,000 Filipino overseas workers in Malaysia are women who are in “vulnerable occupations.”

She added that protective mechanisms for them are being implemented by the Philippine embassy with the cooperation of the Malaysian employers and the Malaysian government. (ELENA ABEN)