HONG Kong and the mainland will be priority areas for Philippine (菲律賓) president-elect Rodrigo Duterte (杜特爾特) to visit once he takes office, with the leader hoping China can help build a railway loop on the vast island of Mindanao (棉蘭老島).
Duterte has a ‘tacit agreement’ to visit countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (東南亞國家聯盟) and after that major trading partners the United States, China and Japan following his inauguration on 30 June, his spokesman Peter Lavina (拉維納) told The Standard.
The new leader’s first stop though will be the Vatican (梵蒂岡) to make a personal apology to the pope for calling him a “son of a whore” during the campaign, Lavina said.
Duterte, 71, the long-time mayor of Davao City (達沃市) in Mindanao, railed against Pope Francis (方濟各) for causing traffic jams during his visit to Manila (馬尼拉) in January last year.
Lavina also said during the campaign period Duterte twice visited Hong Kong – which has a large Filipino community, including 150,000 domestic helpers – and Macau (澳門) once as they are nearest to Manila.
“The possibility is very high he will visit Hong Kong. On when, that will depend when he is installed in Malacanang (馬拉坎南宮),” Lavina said.
Incumbent President Benigno Aquino (阿基諾三世 ) has not visited the SAR during his six-year term, even though his mother, the late democracy icon Corazon Aquino, came to the territory a few times in the mid-1980s and was warmly welcomed.
(This article is published on The Student Standard on 17 May 2016)
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