PH highlights strong ties as Singapore marks 57th National Day

Published August 8, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Singapore is a country close to the hearts and minds of Filipinos. Filipinos love to go to Singapore for tourism, to see how its world-class infrastructure harmoniously coexists with the bounty of nature and imprints of heritage. It is also a land of opportunity for the estimated 200,000 Filipino professionals and workers, who actively contribute to the economic development of both nations.

According to the Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore, of the 200,000 number, “approximately
60 percent of Filipinos in Singapore are professionals and skilled workers, while the rest are employed as household service workers.”

It is this sheer number of Filipinos in a land of almost six million that Filipinos play a complementary role in Singapore’s 57-year development as an economic powerhouse. The 57th National Day of Singapore will be celebrated tomorrow, Aug. 9, 2022.

On that day in 1965, Singapore gained its sovereignty. Based on historical records, modern Singapore first declared independence from Britain in August 1963, then joined the Federation of Malaysia. Singapore then left the federation after two years and gained its own sovereignty on Aug. 9, 1965. Yusof Bin Ishak was sworn in as its first president and Lee Kuan Yew remained prime minister.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Singapore, according to the Philippine Embassy, were formally established on May 16, 1969. Since then, Singapore has been “a valued partner of the Philippines and a fellow ASEAN founding member.”

“Philippines-Singapore bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength in many key areas
including trade and investment, security and defense cooperation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people relations.”

Singapore was also one of the first nations to invite President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for a state visit. In a letter sent by Singapore President Halimah Yacob, she relayed that Singapore and the Philippines “share a warm and long standing relationship, underpinned by strong economic cooperation and robust people-to-people ties.”

“I recall fondly the warm and gracious hospitality extended to me by the Filipino people during my state visit to the Philippines in September 2019. I look forward to working with you to strengthen the friendship between our two countries,” she added.

Aside from the visit of President Yacob to the Philippines in 2019, former President Rodrigo Duterte also went on a state visit to Singapore in December 2016.

“The Philippines’ economic partnership with Singapore continues to grow and expand. Singapore is the country’s fifth largest trading partner in the world, and the largest in ASEAN. In 2021, despite the impact of the pandemic, Philippines-Singapore total trade hit $11.14 billion, an increase of 18.5 percent from the $9.4 billion registered in 2020. In both 2019 and 2021, Singapore was the single biggest source of foreign investments in the Philippines,” according to the Embassy.

“In terms of tourism, Singapore was the Philippines’ top tourist destination within ASEAN in 2019. In 2020, despite the pandemic, Singapore was second only to Malaysia as the country’s largest source of tourist arrivals within ASEAN, which saw 19,998 Singaporean tourists visiting the country.”

On Singapore’s National Day, the nation sends its warm greetings to the Singaporean people. May
cooperation and collaboration reign in the years to come as both nations further strengthen ties in the political, economic, environmental, academic, and cultural spheres.