President Aquino’s statement during the joint presscon with the President of Mexico

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
during the joint press conference with His Excellency Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico

[Delivered at Malacanan Palace, on November 17, 2015]

Your Excellency President Enrique Peña Nieto, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen:

I have the honor of welcoming President Peña Nieto and the delegation of Mexico to the Philippines. En nombre del pueblo filipino, le doy la mas calida bienvenida.

Mr. President, your state visit reminds us of the deep ties of history that bind our two nations. Four and half centuries ago, the return voyage of the Legazpi-Urdaneta expedition from Manila to Acapulco commenced almost three centuries of what has come to be known as the Galleon Trade—which to a large degree was our only link to foreign trade. 78 years ago, during the time we remember as our nation’s Commonwealth, the Mexican people welcomed President Manuel L. Quezon to your shores, with all the honors befitting an independent head of state. 70 years ago, as fellow members of the Allied Forces fighting fascism, Mexican airmen fought over the skies of Luzon and Leyte, in an effort to liberate our country. Your visit is thus not only a reminder, but also a reaffirmation of nearly half a millennium of relations between us as sister nations.

As the Philippines and Mexico continue to navigate a sea of shared heritage and common vision, President Peña Nieto and I had a very productive discussion on the progress of our bilateral relations, which bring about more meaningful opportunities for both the peoples of the Philippines and Mexico.

On the economic front, we took note of the increase in commercial activities and investments made by both our countries, exemplified by the expansion of companies like CEMEX, FEMSA, and our very own ICTSI both here at home and in Mexico. I encouraged our brethren from Mexico to further take hold of the prospects of growth that the world now sees in a Philippines that truly works, and to further consider, just as in the old times, their sister country as a gateway for trade and commerce to the rest of Southeast Asia.

Today, President Peña Nieto and I welcomed the signing of agreements on Avoidance of Double Taxation, on Tourism Cooperation, and on Anti-Narcotics Cooperation. We also took the opportunity to welcome two business agreements, which both our nations signed earlier this year.

During our discussions, I also congratulated the President for Mexico’s chairmanship of the Open Government Partnership, an endeavor the Philippines is proud of, as both a founding partner and as an advocate for transparency and openness in governance through the use of new technologies that enable our respective citizens to better engage in the process of nation-building.

Mr. President, you have travelled the same great distance that our forefathers travelled, to reaffirm the profound solidarity between our peoples. And while your stay in our country may be brief, it is my hope that you and your delegation will experience nothing less than the hospitality and unique friendship that we have demonstrated towards those we consider our brethren—that same hospitality and friendship which are among the reasons our visitors say that it is more fun in the Philippines.

Thank you, and good day.