Koror, Palau- President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr is scheduled to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte this week.In still an undisclosed schedule, the Office of the President in a statement said.
Remengesau is set to leave tonight and return to Palau on February 18.
A press statement issued by the office of the president said that the aims of the meeting are to get to know one another and start discussions on issues of mutual interests.“The two Presidents through recent communications, agreed to meet and get to know one another and start discussions on mutual interests and respective mutual issues,” said the press statement issued this afternoon.
In an earlier interview, Remengesau said the visit is “ to meet a fellow brother and begin discussions how we can improve our friendship and relationship and cooperation.”
President Remengesau is expected to thank the Philippine leader “for the many Filipinos who have continued to contribute to Palau's economy over so many years.” “President Remengesau looks forward to discussing ways both countries can enhance mutual interests in foreign labor, cultural exchange, medical tourism, agriculture, aquaculture, and education.Workers from the Philippines make up about 60 percent of the foreign population in Palau. Many Palauan citizens also go to the Philippines for medical referral, to study in colleges and universities for higher education.
One issue between Palau and Philippines are Filipinos fishing within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).Remengesau said this is one area that can be discussed with the Philippine government. , if there is an opportunity.“It’s a lot better than before when our policies were not well known, now I think the more we communicate, the more we understand what the laws and the requirements are. Because there’s room for cooperation and improvement; that’s what we want to do also, get an understanding of where things are,” Remengesau said.
Illegal drugs could be one of the items to be brought up for discussion. Both leaders have mobilized resources in the effort to fight illegal drugs in their countries. The Philippines considered as one of the major source of methamphetamines entering Palau.
Duterte is known for his aggressive policy against illegal drugs in the Philippines.