PH, Singapore agree to work together for post-pandemic recovery

Published July 17, 2021, 6:44 PM

by Raymund Antonio

The Philippines and Singapore are committed to strengthen its post-pandemic recovery through economic cooperation such as trade and investment, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Saturday, July 17.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial and Singapore Foreign Ministry Deputy Secretary Ng Teck Hean (DFA-ASPAC)

In a statement, the DFA stated that both sides discussed the various initiatives “to further enhance economic ties and to hasten post-pandemic recovery.”

This was done during the virtual 5th Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (ICPSAP), co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial and Singaporean Foreign Ministry Deputy Secretary Ng Teck Hean, on Wednesday, July 14.

One of the key projects both sides agree will enhance the economic cooperation after the COVID-19 pandemic is the “facilitation of the entry of Philippine agricultural products such as egg, poultry, and vegetables to Singapore.”

“This, in turn, will aid Singapore’s bid to diversify its food import sources,” the statement said.

“Both sides committed to continue joint efforts to address the effects of the pandemic by sustaining the close cooperation between Philippine and Singaporean health ministries, share expertise in contact tracing and treatment strategies, and begin discussions on the recognition of health certificates for inbound travelers in anticipation of the resumption of travel after the pandemic,” the DFA said.

Singapore, for its part, highlighted the contribution of Filipino healthcare workers in their own pandemic response.

There are more than 200,000 Filipinos in Singapore who the city-state recognizes for its socio-economic development.

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The Philippines reiterated its proposal for a bilateral labor agreement “to further protect and ensure the welfare of Filipino workers in Singapore.”

Aside from the pandemic response, the two countries also “reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in defense and security, and trade and investments.”

Trade and investment relations remain robust between the two countries despite the pandemic with two-way trade amounting to $9 billion in 2020 and Singapore becoming the Philippines’ top investor in 2019.

The Philippines also took the opportunity to invite Singapore to invest in the development of its green and smart cities, particularly in New Clark City, as well as in industrial parks and economic zones, clean and renewable energy sources, and waste and water management systems.

“Recognizing that global and regional security issues require a concerted response by partner states, the Philippines and Singapore agreed to intensify coordination and cooperation in the areas of maritime domain awareness, counterterrorism, defense industry development, intelligence exchange, joint military training, and law enforcement,” the statement said.

It added that the two countries “also tackled pressing regional issues of mutual concern, and committed to closely coordinate and work together to respond to the same.”

The ICPSAP consultations are held annually at the assistant-secretary level. It is the primary bilateral mechanism by which the Philippines and Singapore review the implementation of the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan, a consolidated framework that aims to identify priority areas for mutually-beneficial collaboration in areas of bilateral cooperation and multilateral engagement.

The last ICPSAP was held in Manila in December 2018.