By Darryl John Esguerra

NEW ENVOY. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomes Ambassador-designate of the Republic of Djibouti Ibrahim Bileh Doualeh during his courtesy call at Malacañang Palace on Wednesday (May 22, 2024). During the courtesy call, the President thanked the government of Djibouti for helping Filipino seafarers affected by the Houthi missile attack on M/V True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden last March. (Presidential Communications Office photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expressed appreciation to the government of Djibouti for helping Filipino seafarers affected by the Houthi missile attack on M/V True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden last March.

Marcos thanked Ambassador-designate of the Republic of Djibouti Ibrahim Bileh Doualeh during his courtesy call at Malacañang Palace on Wednesday, according to a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) news release.

“Thanks for all [the] help that you have given [to the] Filipino seafarers in times of great need. And we hope to continue this relationship. And [I hope], the amity between our two countries will grow and [bring us closer],” Marcos told Doualeh.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted cargo vessel M/V True Confidence with an anti-ship missile while navigating the Gulf of Aden on its way from China to Jeddah and Aqaba on March 6.

Three crew members died, including two Filipinos.

All of the surviving crew members, including 13 Filipinos, were rescued by the Indian Navy and brought to a hospital in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa where they recovered.

All the Filipino seafarers have been repatriated to the country and got assistance from the Philippine government.

New envoys

Djibouti’s diplomat was among the eight new non-resident ambassadors Marcos received at Malacañang Palace, the PCO said.

Among those who presented their credentials were Jagdishwar Goburdhun, G.O.S.K., Republic of Mauritius; Farhod Arziev, Republic of Uzbekistan; and Hassan Abdelsalam Omer, Republic of Sudan.

The President also welcomed Major General Gotsileene Morake, non-resident ambassador-designate of the Republic of Botswana; Mait Martinson, Republic of Estonia; Morecome Mumba; Republic of Zambia; and Abdelhafid Bounour, People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

The diplomats are non-resident ambassadors-designate, which means that they would not reside in the country but will be accorded status as their countries’ official representatives.

Receiving the Estonian ambassador at Malacañang, Marcos, the PCO said, hoped the Philippines could continue discussions on security issues with the European nation.

“We welcome you as ambassador to the Philippines as I’m sure that your President has begun very important talks in terms of some of the security issues that both our countries are happy to [address]. I hope that we can continue with that discussion,” Marcos said.

Martinson said the Philippine-Estonia relationship is a “positive renaissance” in which the two nations can combine their complementary experiences in various fields such as digital development and cybersecurity.

In welcoming the ambassador of Mauritius, the President expressed hopes the two nations can explore ways to further strengthen their relationship.

In response, Goburdhun said he is looking at special collaboration with the Philippines in the health and agriculture sectors to combat diseases and boost agricultural production.

As to the Sudanese ambassador, Marcos said, “I hope your time as Ambassador to the Philippines will be a time where we can begin a closer relationship. I look forward to that day and I think there are many possibilities.”

Sudan and the Philippines established their bilateral relations on March 7, 1976, with the Philippine Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, exercising concurrent jurisdiction over Sudan. (PNA)