Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Magandang gabi po / sa inyong lahat. / Nagagalak akong / makasama kayong lahat ngayon/ sa ating pagtitipon .
Thank you very much for coming this evening. It has been a year since I introduced myself to you at this same reception. I am glad to have made many friends here. Thanks to friends like you, things have been going quite well between our two countries.
After my arrival in May 2011, President Aquino visited Japan in September. His Excellency President Aquino and Prime Minister Noda agreed to elevate our relations to a Strategic Partnership. Since then, many Japanese business and economic delegations as well as politicians have visited the Philippines. The exchanges have been very fruitful. In fact, having accompanied the official visit to Japan of Secretary Del Rosario last week, I am happy to report that all the meetings with our political and economic leaders confirmed how much we share in values, interests, and thinking.
The exchange and dialogue on the defense side is also active. Since last year, Admiral Sugimoto, Chief of the Maritime Staff Office, visited Manila. Admiral Alexander Palma, Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy, visited Japan. The Maritime Self-Defense Force training squadron paid a port call in Manila and the Pacific Partnership involving Self-Defense Force medics and NGOs have just wrapped up a medical mission in Samar. Even this week, Secretary Gazmin, visiting Japan to attend the World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Sendai, took the opportunity to meet with Japanese Defense Minister Morimoto this Monday. They discussed greater defense cooperation and personnel exchanges and signed a Statement of Intent to that effect.
Better communication means better relationship. That is what I have learned from my personal life. Incidentally, we are now celebrating the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month this July. Many cultural events such as film showing and concerts are scheduled. Please come because such communication is the bedrock of our friendship.
To conclude, let me express my deep appreciation for your presence here tonight by inviting you to the wagyu, sushi, and other Japanese delicacies specially prepared for your enjoyment.
Maraming salamat po at sana ay maging masaya kayo.