MANILA — Vice President-elect Sara Duterte was visited by delegations from some countries, including the United States, on Wednesday, a day before she assumes her new office.
US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, wife of Vice President Kamala Harris, led the American delegation that personally congratulated Duterte on her victory in the May 9 polls.
“I’d like to congratulate you on your election on behalf of president Biden and VP Harris," Emhoff said.
Also part of the US delegation was Rep. Robert Scott, the first American of Filipino descent to be a voting member of the US Congress, and chargé d’affaires Heather Variava of the US Embassy in the Philippines.
Philippine ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, who was at the meeting, said Duterte and Emhoff discussed their commonalities, such as both of them being lawyers.
“I think it’s a very good meeting and I'm so proud of our vice president. Sabi ko nga kay vice president, we need you in Washington para ‘yong ating relationship [with the US] mas lalo pang gaganda,” Romualdez said.
(I even told the Vice President that we needed her in Washington to improve our relationship with the US.)
He added that Duterte told Emhoff she was looking forward to visiting the US "sometime this year." The incoming vice-president's father, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, has never visited the US, which is the Philippines' longest treaty ally, as he pivoted the country to China and Russia.
Romualdez said the younger Duterte, who is also incoming education secretary, plans to attend an education summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this September.
Before the American delegation, Duterte was visited by Ambassador Michéle Boccoz of the French Embassy and Ambassador Răduţa Dana Matache of the Romanian Embassy.
After the US delegation, Duterte Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Laos deputy foreign minister Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune.
She also met with Vietnamese vice president Võ Thị Ánh Xuân.
The Chinese delegation, led by Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, also paid her a visit.
Leaving comments about the courtesy calls to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Duterte simply thanked her visitors.
“I thank them for their well wishes for me personally and their well-wishes for our country. And we are happy that they are able to attend the presidential inauguration tomorrow,” she said.
The foreign dignitaries who visited Duterte are also set to attend the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the National Museum on Thursday.
—with report from Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News