PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob on Monday witnessed the signing of eight agreements between the two countries on infrastructure development and water resource management.
The deals also covered education, agri-trade, data protection, and arts and culture, according to the presidential palace in Manila.
Ms. Halimah, the first female president and first Malay head of Singapore in 47 years, is in the Philippines for a four-day state visit.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of the deals in a ceremony in Malacañang.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Department of Education and Temasek Foundation International and Nanyang Polytechnic International Programme on Innovations and Teaching and Learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
The Agriculture department and Enterprise Singapore signed a memo of understanding on agricultural cooperation.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Trade department and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority signed a deal with Skills Future Singapore Agency on human capital development.
There were also agreement between Development Bank of the Philippines and Infrastructure Asia Singapore on knowledge sharing to support infrastructure development. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System also signed a deal with the Public Utilities Board.
Infrastructure Asia and Public-Private Partnership Center signed a deal to help local agencies enforce PPP projects.
The National Privacy Commission of the Philippines and Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore also signed an deal on personal data protection cooperation.
Mr. Duterte and Ms. Halimah discussed ways to help bring lasting peace to the Mindanao region, according to a joint statement.
“Singapore was our second-highest source of investments in 2018, committing a total of P21.18 billion, or 11.8% of our foreign pledges,” Mr. Duterte said. Singapore was also the Philippines’ seventh-largest trading partner, with two-way trade at US$10.49 billion, Mr. Duterte said.
“The economic ties between our two countries are strong and robust,” Ms. Halimah said in the statement. “But President Duterte and I agreed that we can do even more together. There is room to further boost trade and investment flows.”
The countries expect to make progress in updating the Singapore-Philippines avoidance of double taxation agreement and the expansion of the bilateral air transport deal, which will increase connectivity and “create more opportunities for collaboration and growth,” she said.
This year, the Philippines and Singapore will commemorate the 50th year of their diplomatic relations.
The Singaporean president is also scheduled to visit Davao City, where she will be received by Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio. She will visit the Philippine Eagle Center and speak with Mindanao youths, according to the Foreign Affairs department. — Arjay L. Balinbin