SINGAPORE: President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have sent letters to incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte congratulating him on his election win, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a media release on Monday (May 30).
The Congress of the Philippines on Monday officially proclaimed the Davao mayor as next President.
In his letter to Mr Duterte, President Tan wrote that Singapore and the Philippines are "old friends with strong ties". "Our countries cooperate closely in ASEAN and internationally, including at the United Nations, to promote peace, stability and prosperity," Dr Tan said.
Dr Tan recalled a state visit to the Philippines in April 2014, where Mrs Tan and himself were impressed by the Philippines' economic progress, as well as the resilience of Tacloban residents as they worked to rebuild their hometowns in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
"I am confident that you will lead the Philippines economy to greater heights," Dr Tan wrote. He also extended an invitation to Mr Duterte to visit Singapore.
STRONG MANDATE REFLECTS TRUST FILIPINOS HAVE: PM LEE
In his letter, PM Lee noted the landslide victory for Mr Duterte: "The strong mandate reflects the trust that your fellow Filipinos have in your leadership and vision for the Philippines."
Mr Lee also said both countries share "close ties spanning many sectors, including trade and investment, culture and people-to-people exchanges".
"Our bilateral relationship will reach a milestone in 2019, when we celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties," said Mr Lee, adding that as fellow founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), both countries work together to promote regional peace and prosperity.
He said Singapore looks forward to the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, which is also the 50th anniversary of the founding of the grouping. "I am confident that we will be able to foster closer ASEAN integration amid a complex and fast-changing global landscape," added Mr Lee.
"I wish you good health and success in your new position, and look forward to working with you for the benefit of our countries, peoples and ASEAN," Mr Lee added.