Fiji’s Non Resident Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines HE Isikeli Mataitoga who is on duty visit to the Philippines, on Monday 18 November 2013 called on HE Mr. Jejomar BINAY, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. The meeting took place at the Coconut Palace, the official residence and office of the Vice President. Ambassador was accompanied by Mr. Jesus Morente Pineda Jr, the newly Commissioned Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji to the Philippines. Ambassador took the opportunity to brief the Vice President on the latest development in the preparation for election in Fiji by September 2014.
HE Mr Binay expressed admiration for the work of the Fijian Soldiers who are part of UN Peacekeeping Operation in the Golan Heights, where they are posted with soldiers from the Philippines Armed Forces. The Vice President was keen to see bilateral relations between Fiji and the Philippines grow in scope and that people-to-people exchange would be the priority, to ensure that our respective peoples understand each other better. He reaffirmed the desire of the Philippine Government to finalize the draft Development Cooperation Agreement, which was proposed by Fiji and submitted through Ambassador Virginia H Benavides, Philippine Non Resident Ambassador to Fiji.
Before calling on the Vice President Binay, Ambassador Mataitoga had held meetings with senior officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Department for National Defence and he also traveled to Laguna Province to meet with Dr Vincent Cruz, the Chancellor of the University of the Philippines, Los Banos and met with Dr Bruce Tolentino, Deputy Director General [Communications and Partnerships] of the International Rice Research Institute [IRRI]. The outcomes of these various meetings and consultations were positive towards their collective desire to share their experience, knowledge and expertise with Fiji Government and its people. There are separate program of bilateral assistance being discussed between Fiji and each of the above departments and agencies in the Philippines, which will contribute significantly towards our specialized manpower training in agriculture, agro-business technology and research.
Ambassador Mataitoga also called on the former President of the Philippines HE Mr Joseph Estrada, who is now, the Mayor of Metro Manila and apart from paying courtesies, it was useful in discussing city/city cooperation in areas of waste management, greening the city programs etc.
On 19 November 2013 in a special ceremony hosted by the Honorable Mr Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, the newly appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji Mr Jesus Morente PINEDA Jr, was formally inaugurated, witnessed by Ambassador Mataitoga and close family and business associates of the Honorary Consul. In separate ceremony the same day, Ambassador Mataitoga formally presented to Mr Pineda Jr, his Commission of Appointment as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji.