Yacob visit: Philippines, Singapore sign 8 agreements

Halimah Yacob,rodrigo Duterte
Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob (left) and President Duterte shake hands following the signing of the official Palace Guest Book on Monday, September 9, 2019, at Malacañang in Manila. Yacob is on a five-day state visit that aims to strengthen ties between the two Southeast Asian neighbors.

THE Philippines and Singapore signed on Monday eight bilateral agreements on infrastructure development, water resource management and microgrid technology for cost-efficient supply of electricity to rural areas, education, and education cooperation in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution, among others.

President Duterte and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob witnessed the signing of the memoranda of understanding (MOU) in Malacañang.

Yacob, the first female Singa-porean President, arrived in the country last Saturday for a five-day state visit until September 12. Her visit caps the observance of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Singapore.

“The economic ties between our two countries are strong and robust but President Duterte and I agreed that we can do even more together. There is room to further boost trade and investment flows,” Yacob said in her joint press conference statement.

Further, she said they both hope to make progress on updating the Singapore-Philippines Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and the expansion of the bilateral Air Transport Agreement, which will increase connectivity and create more opportunities for collaboration and growth.

For his part, Duterte said in a statement that the two countries also talked about boosting defense and security ties, as well as trade and investment links.

“We talked about deepening our cooperation in defense and security, which includes strengthening defense dialogues and training exchanges between the military and special forces,” he said.

The Chief Executive also sought Yacob’s support as they encourage further Singaporean participation in priority investment areas and boost cooperation in agriculture, education and training, science and technology, tourism and cultural exch  anges.  “We will forge ahead and bring our ties to even greater heights of [purposive] cooperation and friendship between the Philippines and Singapore,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Singaporean leader, who is also the first Malay head of state in 47 years, is slated to grace a luncheon with the Philippines-Singapore Business Council. She will also fly to Davao City where she will be received by Mayor Sara Duterte. She will visit the Philippine Eagle Center and hold a dialogue with Mindanao youth.

The list of signed agreements between Philippines and Singapore include:

■ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Education 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

■ MOU between the Department of Agriculture and Enterprise Singapore on Agricultural Cooperation and Related Activities

■ MOU between Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority 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 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.

Image credits: AP/Bullit Marquez


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