By Genalyn Kabiling
PORT MORESBY — The Philippines has recently inked a pact with Papua New Guinea to enhance cooperation on trade and investments, particularly in areas of education, banking, manufacturing and health services.
The memorandum of understanding on trade and economic cooperation between the two countries was signed during President Duterte’s visit to Papua New Guinea, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
“Walang trade agreement [There’s no trade agreement] but we signed yesterday (Saturday) the memorandum of understanding to promote joint economic and trade cooperation,” Lopez said during a press conference on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here.
“Ang first step whenever you want to enhance trade with a country, so you provide a — it’s like a platform or a regular mechanism kung saan magmi-meet ang mga working group, technical group, exchange information, trade data, mga business mission, investment mission, to both sides [The first step whenever you want to enhance trade with a country is you provide, it’s a like a platform or a regular mechanism where working groups, technical group will meet, exchange information, trade data. There will also be business mission and investment mission to both sides,” he added.
He said the two countries were looking into boosting cooperation on education, manufacturing, banking services, health service, among others.
He noted that President Duterte has already pledged to help build schools and deploy teachers to Papua New Guinea to enhance their education system.
“Ang mga PNG leaders sinabi nila na gusto nilang dumami pa ang kanilang universities and colleges [The PNG leaders have said they want to have lots of universities and colleges]. They believe in the Philippine education system. In fact, that’s why they send a lot of students to the Philippines — Davao, Cebu, Manila so marami silang estudyante doon [so there are many students there],” he said.
“They believe in the education system so gusto nilang dalin dito [they want to bring it here],” he added.
He said Papua New Guinea has also expressed interest in developing a “stronger banking system” following his meeting with its economic planning minister.
“So nagpapatulong din siya kumausap din sa mga ibang nasa financial banking sector natin at mga actual banks who can possibly invest here [They’re seeking assistance to talk to the financial banking sector and actual banks who can possibly invest here],” he said.
“So a lot of potential here in PNG when it comes to these fields — financial sector, banks, manufacturing, education, medical services — iyon din ang kailangan nila mga health services,” he added.