MANILA (UPDATED)— The international community on Thursday mourned the death of former Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, and noted his contribution on strengthening foreign relations under his leadership.
In a tweet, John Law, Chargé d’Affaires of the US embassy in Manila, expressed his gratitude to Aquino, known as PNoy to Filipinos during his presidency, for continued partnership with the US and said that his death was "heartbreaking."
"On behalf of the US Embassy, I offer our deepest condolences to former President Benigno Aquino III’s family and loved ones at this heartbreaking time. We are saddened by President Aquino’s passing and will always be thankful for our partnership," said Law.
Aquino, who served as President from 2010 until 2016, was well-regarded by the US government, which helped his administration beef up Manila's modest military capacities in the face of a confrontation with China over the West Philippine Sea.
Germany's embassy in Manila was also saddened by Aquino's death, saying he was a "great friend" to their country.
The embassy recalled Aquino's state visit in Germany in September 2014, which "marked an important milestone" for the two nations.
"During his visit... several bilateral agreements and exchanges of notes in the spheres of social security, trade and education were signed at a ceremony held in the German Federal Foreign Office," the embassy said in a statement.
Japan's top government spokesman also extended condolences to the late chief executive's family, and praised his contributions to the country's economic growth and for strengthening bilateral ties.
"The accomplishments of he and former President Corazon Aquino, who contributed to the democratization of the Philippines, serving as president across two generations will be long remembered," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference.
"We offer our heartfelt condolences."
France's embassy in Manila said Aquino left a legacy founded on democracy, economics, and honesty.
The embassy also emphasized the two nations' agreement on climate change during former French President François Hollande's visit to the country in 2015.
"Bilateral relations between France and the Philippines reached new heights during the presidency of Mr. Aquino where he warmly welcomed... Hollande to Manila," the statement read.
"It was during this historic first visit of a French Head of State to the Philippines that our two presidents jointly launched the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change – a mark of our two countries’ shared commitment to the fight against climate change and a symbol of the growing partnership and friendship between France and the Philippines," it added.
Meanwhile, British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said he was "extremely saddened" by Noynoy's death, extending his condolences to the Filipino people.
The European Union expressed its sympathies as well to the Aquino family, noting that the EU-Philippines Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) was signed during his term.
Australia's ambassador to Manila Steven Robinson offered his condolences to the Aquinos, and remembered PNoy's visit to Australia in 2012.
"While the Philippines mourns his loss, we remember fondly his State Visit to Australia in 2012 and the legacy of partnership and bayanihan we shared," Robinson said.
Canadian Ambassador to Manila Peter MacArthur also paid tribute to Aquino, noting the 15th President of the Philippines visited Canada in 2015.
"Canada extends deepest sympathies to the Filipino people, family, & friends of former President Benigno S. Aquino III," he said.
"In mourning his loss, President Aquino will be remembered as a leader committed to good governance and prosperity," he said.
Aquino passed away early Thursday at a hospital in Quezon City due to a renal disease secondary to diabetes, according to his family. He was 61.
The country's 15th President had been largely silent and out of public eye since the end of his term, despite repeated criticism from his successor, President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was under the Aquino administration when the Philippines brought China to the arbitral tribunal over its vast claims in the South China Sea.
Manila's victory against Beijing was announced in July 2016 after Duterte had assumed power. Duterte, who pursued friendly ties with China, has called the ruling a mere piece of paper.
He also paved the way for a peace agreement between the government and a Muslim secessionist group on the southern island of Mindanao.
His mother Corazon, who was president from 1986 to 1992, was revered as leader of the People Power Revolution that ended the two-decade dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
- with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News; Reuters and Kyodo News