By Azrol Azmi
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday granted an audience to Benigno S Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines who is in the country for a two-day state visit.
His Majesty welcomed the arrival of President Aquino at the Istana Nurul Iman before proceeding to receive the ceremonial royal salute followed by the national anthems of both countries and 21-gun salute, as well as inspecting the guard of honour from the Royal Brunei Land Force.
President Aquino was then introduced to members of the royal family, state dignitaries, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, foreign envoys in Brunei Darussalam, members of the Legislative Council, as well as Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
His Majesty, in return, was introduced to members of the delegation of President Aquino, who comprised the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Albert F del Rosario; the Secretary of Trade and Industries, Cesar V Purisima; the Secretary of Communication Operation Office of the President, Herminio B Coloma Jr and the Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Brunei Darussalam, Nestor Z Ochoa, as well as other senior officials from the Philippines.
His Majesty led the visiting president and his entourage for an audience ceremony held at the Cheradi Laila Kenchana. Also present during the audience ceremony were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as other members of the royal family.
Following the audience, His Majesty and the President of the Republic of the Philippines proceeded to Cheradi Ratna Kenchana for a four-eye meeting, before going to Baitul Masyuarah to witness the signing ceremony of memoranda of understanding between Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Philippines.
The president arrived in Brunei Darussalam yesterday morning and was greeted by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office.
Also present were Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mohd Yusof, Minister of Health as the Minister in Attendance, and Malai Hajah Halimah binti Malai Haji Yussof, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of the Philippines.
Some 6,000 students lined up along the main road towards the main entrance of Istana Nurul Iman, waving flags of both countries to welcome the visiting president for his state visit.
- Borneo Bulletin
(2nd June 2011)