Australia-PH's 75 years of mateship, bayanihan lauded by PM Morrison

Published May 22, 2021, 2:59 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Australia is committed to further strengthen relations with the Philippines and work together towards securing an inclusive, prosperous and free Indo-Pacific region.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers a video message for Philippine-Australia Friendship Day on May 22 (Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the commitment after citing the two countries’ strong and enduring friendship, wide-ranging cooperative ties, as well as shared values of “mateship and bayanihan.”

Australia and the Philippines are celebrating the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year. The anniversary campaign carries the theme “Mateship and Bayanihan.”

In a video message on Philippines-Australia Friendship Day on May 22, Morrison said the bilateral relationship between the two countries is “far-reaching,” citing cooperation in trade, defense cooperation, education, counterterrorism, and development.

“Our people-to-people links are strong and enduring — as they should be for countries that share a home: our Indo-Pacific,” he said.

“We also share a vision of what our home should be. Open. Inclusive. Stable and prosperous. Free. That is what we have worked for over the last 75 years. And it is what we will continue to work for — together — over the next 75,” he added.

In his message, Morrison also recalled the great shared history of the two democratic, free and sovereign nations. He noted the two nations’ friendship and solidarity have been tested during past conflicts and won “peace” together.

“Our countries forged a bond more than 75 years ago, during the great conflict of the Second World War, on the beaches at Leyte, in the jungles at Mindanao, and the seas of Lingayen Gulf,” he said.

“It was there that our bayanihan — or mateship, as we say in Australia — was born. We stood together against the militarism and the cruelties of those terrible times. Together we won a peace, together we won a war,” he said.

Morrison acknowledged that bayanihan has become the source of the “enduring respect and cooperation” between Australia and the Philippines.

Australia and the Philippines celebrate 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2021 (DFAT.GOV.AU)

In November 2020, Morrison spoke to President Duterte over the phone and discussed Australia’s resolve to strengthen the cooperation and partnership with the Philippines on areas of mutual interest.

The Philippine leader, for his part, welcomed Australia’s interest to enhance cooperation with the Southeast Asian bloc on maritime security, countering marine plastic debris, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity, according to the Palace. Duterte also thanked Australia for its formal manifestation before the United Nations affirming the arbitral award on the South China Sea issue.

Duterte also regarded Australia a “close partner” in upholding international law and promoting maritime security, the Palace said.