“THE war against crime and drugs carried out by you is an example to the whole world and, personally, to me. The drug menace is rampant in my country and I feel that we should follow your footsteps to control this hazard.”
This in his speech at the state banquet given in his honor in Malacañang during his state visit Wednesday.
Duterte, in his statement after a bilateral meeting earlier, said Sri Lanka could be a partner to address the trafficking of illegal drugs.
The Philippine president is a hardliner when it comes to addressing the problem on illegal drugs, and included it in his campaign for the presidency in 2016. He has discussed it in his speeches since becoming the country’s chief executive, and has warned those involved in the drug trade to stop or he would kill them.
In a speech in October 2018, he said dead drug suspects were just carcasses to him.
Earlier, several agreements were signed between the Philippines and Sri Lanka as Duterte welcomed Sirisena.
Duterte received Sirisena in Malacañang, marking the first state visit of a Sri Lankan head of state to the Philippines since diplomatic relations were established 58 years ago.
Sirisena first attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Rizal Park, where he paid his respects to Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal before heading to the Palace where he was received by Duterte.
Sirisena also signed the official guest book before he and Duterte attended an expanded bilateral meeting attended by officials from both governments.
Both leaders witnessed the exchange of five agreements between Philippine and Sri Lankan agencies namely the, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of National Defense and the Ministry of Defence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka concerning defense and military education and training and exchanges of defense and military delegations; MOU on Cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and related fields between the Republic of the Philippines and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; MOU on academic cooperation in higher education between the Commission on Higher Education and the Ministry of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; MOU between the Department of Tourism of the Philippines and the Ministry of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka; MOU between the University of the Philippines Los Baños and the Sri Lanka Council for Agriculture Research Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock, Irrigation, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development (MAREALIFARD).
Prior to attending a state banquet in honor of Sirisena’s visit, the leaders delivered joint statements in Malacañang.
Duterte said he and Sirisena were united in their desire to provide greater peace, progress and prosperity for their people.
“These aspirations behoove upon us to work together even more closely to provide renewed impetus and clearer direction of a greatly expanded partnership. In our meetings we resolved to further strengthen our engagement in trade, defense and tourism, agriculture, and people-to-people exchanges” said the President.
Duterte added they both recognized the problems posed by illegal drugs and poverty, and the need to strengthen cooperation in defense and security.
“We know that the growth we desire can only be achieved with peace, order and stability,” Duterte said.
The President also said the country recognizes Sri Lanka “can be a partner in advancing migrant workers’ rights and welfare; disaster risk reduction, response and management; as well as in strengthening our maritime security and addressing the trafficking of illegal drugs and human smuggling.”
For his part, Sirisena said he and Duterte had “very productive” discussions on the areas of defense and security, trade and investment, and agriculture, among others.
“We both are pleased on the outcome of our discussion,” he added.
Siresena has extended an invitation for President Duterte to make a state visit to Sri Lanka “at an early date.”