Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob have reaffirmed their ties as both leaders look forward to a stronger cooperation in the coming years.
According to a recent press release, the meeting marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
President Duterte explained that in May 1969, the Philippines and Singapore established formal diplomatic relations determined to fully explore the promise and infinite possibilities of amity and cooperation.
Eight Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed during the visit of President Yacob, which according to President Duterte, were the first steps toward the “next half-century of our natural, mutually reinforcing and beneficial partnership.”
Reinforcing beneficial partnership
The Eight MOUs are:
- MOU between the Department of Education (DepEd) and Temasek Foundation International and Nanyang Polytechnic International Programme on Innovations and Teaching and Learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with Design Thinking. This Memorandum of Understanding provides for long-term collaboration, cooperation, and capability development of DepEd officials and the principles of teachers of DepEd high schools in STEM education.
- MOU between Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the Republic of the Philippines, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) of the Republic of the Philippines, and Skills Future Singapore Agency of the Republic of Singapore on cooperation on human capital development and rescaling and skills upgrading of workforce
- MOU between the National Privacy Commission of the Republic of the Philippines and the Personal Data Protection Commission of the Republic of Singapore on Cooperation in Personal Data Protection.
- MOU between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Enterprise Singapore on Agricultural Cooperation and Related Activities
- MOU between the Development Bank of the Philippines and Infrastructure Asia Singapore on knowledge sharing to support infrastructure development
- MOU between Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and Public Utilities Board
- MOU between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Republic of the Philippines and Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth of the Republic of Singapore on Cultural Cooperation;
- MOU between Infrastructure Asia and Public-Private Partnership Center on assisting Philippine local implementing agencies with the development or implementation of PPP projects;
President Duterte rallied for President Yacob’s support to encourage the participation of Singapore in the country’s priority investment areas and to advance collaboration between the two countries in science and technology, education and training, agriculture, tourism, and cultural exchanges.
Singapore is the Philippines’ second highest source of investments in 2018, committing a total of PHP 21.18 billion (US$ 407 million), or 11.8% of the total foreign pledges.
Additionally, Singapore is the seventh largest trading partner with two-way trade at US$ 10.49 billion.
Singapore and the Philippines also enjoy close people-to-people ties, with more than 200,000 Filipinos living, working, and studying in Singapore.