Singapore, Philippines boost cooperation in areas like counterterrorism, deployment of healthcare workers
Bilateral agreements were signed during Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's state visit to Singapore.
SINGAPORE: Singapore and the Philippines are looking to boost cooperation in areas like counterterrorism, the digital field and personal data protection with the signing of several bilateral agreements on Wednesday (Sep 7).
The exchange of agreements was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr during his two-day state visit, which started on Tuesday.
A joint communique on the recruitment of Filipino healthcare workers was also signed.
It will pave the way for the "continued deployment of Filipino healthcare professionals to Singapore as well as greater bilateral cooperation in the field of healthcare", according to a joint press statement released by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
During his visit, Mr Marcos called on President Halimah Yacob.
The Philippine president and his wife, First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos, also had a new orchid hybrid, the Dendrobium Ferdinand Louise Marcos, named in their honour at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
In the press statement, MFA noted that Mdm Halimah, Mr Lee and Mr Marcos welcomed the "wide-ranging and robust cooperation" between both countries, including in trade and investment, counterterrorism, healthcare and digital cooperation.
The following bilateral agreements were signed during the visit:
- Arrangement concerning the assignment of a team to the Regional Counter-Terrorism Information Facility in Singapore between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Singapore Armed Forces;
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the field of digital cooperation between the Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Philippines and the Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore;
- Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration on the development of New Clark City;
- Renewal of the MOU on cooperation in personal data protection between the National Privacy Commission of the Philippines and the Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore;
- Renewal of the MOU on water collaboration between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System of the Philippines and the Public Utilities Board of Singapore (PUB).
Both sides also discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and recognised the importance of closer cooperation "to enable both countries to emerge stronger together from the pandemic in an inclusive and sustainable manner," said the statement.
"The leaders reaffirmed the strong people-to-people ties which have always been the core of the bilateral relationship," it added.
"Our peoples share close bonds of friendship and amity which have continued to flourish even during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the restoration of travel links following the easing of the global COVID-19 situation."
President Halimah also expressed Singapore’s appreciation for the contributions of Philippine healthcare workers to Singapore's fight against COVID-19.
During their meetings, the leaders of Singapore and the Philippines exchanged views on key regional and international developments.
They emphasised the importance of strengthening ASEAN centrality and unity, deepening regional economic integration including through digital transformation, and upholding rules-based multilateralism to promote peace and stability in the region.
Both sides reiterated ASEAN’s consistent position on the South China Sea and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in and above the South China Sea.
On the situation in Myanmar, the leaders reiterated the call for all political detainees, including Aung San Suu Kyi, to be released.
"They also expressed deep disappointment at the limited progress in and lack of commitment of the military authorities to the timely and complete implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, including the lack of cooperation by the Myanmar military authorities to facilitate the ASEAN Special Envoy to engage in constructive dialogue with all parties concerned," said the joint statement.
"The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to supporting ASEAN’s efforts in alleviating the humanitarian situation in Myanmar."
On Tuesday, Mr Marcos met with some members of the Filipino community at the National University of Singapore.
There are more than 200,000 Philippine nationals in Singapore.
Mr Marcos is on his first overseas trip as president. He visited Indonesia before travelling to Singapore.