PH, Singapore sign eight MOUs in Pres. Yacob’s state visit

Pia Garcia, CNN Philippines

Philippine and Singaporean officials on Monday signed a number of deals on infrastructure development, education, agriculture, skills development, and data protection.

President Rodrigo Duterte and visiting Singaporean President Halimah Yacob witnessed the signing of memoranda of understanding.

Yacob’s state visit highlights 50 years of diplomatic relations between both countries.

The MOUs are:

– innovations in teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with design thinking

– agricultural cooperation and related activities

– cooperation on human capital development and skills upgrading of workforce

– knowledge sharing to support infrastructure development

– between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and Singapore’s Public Utilities Board

– between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of Singapore on Cultural Cooperation

– assisting implementing local agencies with the development or implementation of public-private partnership projects

– cooperation in personal data protection

There were no details about the MOUs.

In his statement after witnessing the exchange of MOUs, Duterte said he and Yacob discussed how to boost the bilateral relationship, including “strengthening defense dialogues and training exchanges between the military and special forces.” and intensifying trade and investment links.

“I asked President Yacob’s support as we encourage further Singaporean participation in our priority investment areas. I also sought to further our cooperation in agriculture, education and training, science and technology, tourism and cultural exchanges,” he said.

Duterte added, “With mutual trust, respect, and abiding amity, I am confident that we will achieve our shared goals and aspirations for our peoples.”

President Yacob said the MOUs represented “salient areas of mutual interest.”

“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.,” she said.

Yacob also addressed both countries’ role as members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), adding, “We will work closely together in ASEAN to promote continued dialogue so as to build a strong, united, and integrated ASEAN community.”

Yacob will also attend the 14th Philippines–Singapore Business Council Meeting on Tuesday, and hold a dialogue with students at the Ateneo de Davao University on Wednesday.

Singapore is the country’s fifth largest export market worldwide, and is the second biggest international investor in the country in 2018.

According to the Philippine embassy in Singapore, around 200,000 Filipinos work and live in the Southeast Asian neighbor.

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