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Marcos arrives in Brunei for state visit

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei—President Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. arrived in Brunei on Tuesday for a state visit. 

The presidential plane carrying Marcos and the entire Philippine delegation landed at Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport at 10:01 a.m.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei welcomed Marcos at the Istana Nurul Iman royal palace as part of the latter's two-day visit.

After the arrival honors, Marcos had a general audience with Bolkiah and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha.

Marcos and the oil-rich sultanate's ruler are set to have a tête-à-tête and bilateral meeting inside the royal palace. Their discussions will highly focus on the economic cooperation between the two countries. Bolkiah serves as Brunei's Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Finance and Economy, and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The President will also attend business meetings as he is expected to promote trade and investment relations between the Philippines and Brunei. Data from GMA News Research indicated that Brunei is not among the top trading partners of the Philippines. 

Several deals are expected to be signed during Marcos' state visit to Bandar Seri Begawan, with focus on sectors such as agriculture, food security, maritime cooperation, and tourism. 

This is the second time that Marcos visited Brunei during his presidency.

In January of this year, the Philippine president attended the wedding of Prince Abdul Mateen, the 10th child of Bolkiah, at the Istana Nurul Iman.

Marcos' visit to Brunei was his 27th foreign trip since assuming leadership in 2022.

Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Marian Jocelyn Tirol-Ignacio acknowledged Bolkiah’s compassion and show of concern for the Philippines, noting that Brunei is there in times of challenges. 

“He’s always been there I think during times of disaster. They have been there in the time that we needed support for the peace process in Mindanao, so this is very important,” Tirol-Ignacio said in an interview.

“In the meantime, the President has always taken, I think, a very proactive stance when it comes to addressing regional peace and security issues, something in fact that is shared by Brunei Darussalam,” she added.

The envoy further emphasized that the two countries both want to do things in a “very peaceful way.”

“But we’re both committed as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states to a region that is peaceful, that is stable so that we will be able to develop, we can create a prosperous region for our peoples,” Tirol-Ignacio said. —VAL/VDV, GMA Integrated News