(Updated 7:23 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III on Monday met and discussed with Indonesian President Joko Widodo issues on drug trafficking and protection of migrant workers, but made no mention of the case of a Filipina convicted of drug smuggling in Indonesia after their bilateral talks.
In a joint press statement with Widodo, Aquino said he and the Indonesian leader had a “meeting of the minds” on the protection of migrant workers.
Aquino, however, was silent on the review of the convicted Filipina drug smuggler’s case being sought by the Philippine government, which had prompted Indonesia to defer her execution by firing squad.
The Filipina was arrested at the Yogyakarta Airport in April 2010 for allegedly trafficking 2.6 kilograms of heroin. She entered Indonesia from Malaysia as a tourist.
The two leaders also did not speak about Jemaah Islamiyah leader Zulkifli bin Hir—also known as Commander Marwan, who was killed two weeks ago in an operation in Maguindanao that also left 44 elite Filipino police commandos dead.
Marwan was believed to be behind the bombing in Bali, Indonesia, in 2002. He reportedly went into hiding in the Philippines in 2003.
Instead, Aquino and Widodo discussed four agreements signed by the Philippines and Indonesia, which focused on education and the fight against illegal drugs.
The Philippines and Indonesia agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of technical and vocational education, as well as in the field of defense research and training.
In his speech, Widodo said he and Aquino discussed potential “trade of defense equipment.” He, however, did not give further details.
The two leaders also signed an agreement on combating drug trafficking, particularly to develop more channels to share information on illegal drug trade.
Aside from these, the Philippines and Indonesia also signed a joint declaration on the protection of migrants and migrant workers.
“Indonesia and the Philippines both have a significant number of nationals overseas, and it is in our mutual interest to work closely with one another to protect our migrants wherever they may be in the world,” Aquino said.
During the joint press statement, Widodo also pledged to double Indonesia’s trade volume with the Philippines next year.
Indonesia was the Philippines’ 11th largest trade partner in 2013, with total trade amounting to US$3.62 billion.