Duterte to discuss Veloso, terrorism with Widodo

Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2016 05:36 PM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian Joko Widodo. File/Composite

INDONESIA - The case of convicted overseas Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso, the war on drugs and addressing terrorism are the top agenda for the scheduled meeting between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian Joko Widodo.

Duterte will be on his state visit to Indonesia Friday.

Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lumen Isleta said the government is hopeful Duterte could get a successful appeal for Veloso.

In 2015, Veloso was granted a last-minute reprieve from execution after being found guilty of drug trafficking by an Indonesian court.

Duterte earlier announced he will appeal to Widodo, but clemency or not, the decision on Veloso's case will be respected.

The war on drugs of both countries will also be discussed, with Philippines and Indonesia's beefed up programs against the illegal drug trade.

Isleta said she expects Duterte to be briefed about Widodo's anti-drug campaign and possibly get tips from Widodo.

Isleta added that the war on terror is also expected to be discussed, specifically the strengthening of a trilateral agreement between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines on securing the safe passage in maritime areas, in light of kidnappings of seafarers and fishermen by terror groups.

The Abu Sayyaf Group abducted eight sailors in June. Two of them were able to escape from their captors.

Meanwhile, the Filipino community in Indonesa have expressed excitement over Duterte's state visit.

Duterte clinched majority of the 6,000 Filipino votes in Indonesia last May.

Teachers, consultants, and other professionals work in Indonesia. About a thousand are in Jakarta, while some work in Medan, Bali, Surabaya, and Batang.

While some expressed full support to Duterte's war on drugs, some say other pertinent issues should also be addressed by Duterte, like the plight of overseas workers.

Duterte is expected to arrive in Indonesia late Thursday after his stint at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Vientiane, Laos.

He will meet the Filipino community Friday morning and will meet the Indonesian president in the afternoon.

A state dinner is also schedule before Duterte goes back to Manila Friday night.