Philippines is a rising Asian 'tiger': Canadian prime minister

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper sees the Philippines as "an emerging Asian tiger," agreeing with the bullish outlook on the country of political and business leaders from many other parts of the world.

To demonstrate Canada's confidence in the Philippine economy, Harper pledged to increase Canadian investment in the country during his meeting with President Benigno Aquino in Malacanang yesterday.

Bilateral trade between Canada and the Philippines amounts to US$1.5 billion.

Aquino and Harper agreed to cooperate on defence and trade, and committed to people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and Canada.

At a joint news conference, Aquino and Harper announced that the Philippine Department of National Defence and the state-run Canadian Commercial Corp. had signed a deal to help Manila buy military equipment to defend its territory.

 >>Canada, Philippines ink defence procurement deal

The deal was signed amid a territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over islands and waters in the West Philippine Sea (also known as South China Sea).

President Aquino said the deal would help the Philippines build up its defence and security capabilities. He declined to elaborate.

But Harper said the deal would "enable the Philippines to acquire the equipment and expertise it needs to fulfil the country's defence and security agenda."

Under the deal, Philippine purchases of equipment and expertise from Canada's 12.6 billion Canadian dollar (US$12.6 billion) defence industry are guaranteed by the Ottawa government, according to a Canadian government statement.

Aquino and Harper discussed the progress in the Aquino administration's good government programme and the gains in the peace process, particularly the signing of framework agreement for peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

At the news conference, Aquino and Harper did not cite specific amounts for Canadian investment, but Harper described the Philippines as an "important economic partner" and an "emerging Asian tiger."

Aquino said the Philippines was open for business under a new management, and that he saw the visit of Harper as a "recognition of the change of atmosphere in the Philippines."

"We do see increased commercial trade ties between our countries," Aquino said.

He said it was "logical to assume" that the $1.5 billion two-way trade between the two countries is "just the starting point."

The two leaders witnessed the signing of the defence deal by Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Canadian Minister for International Trade and Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast.

"This will help us in our efforts to build our defence and security capabilities," Aquino said, welcoming Canada's help in the much-delayed modernisation of the Philippine armed forces.

The Canadian Commercial Corp. serves as a go-between for Canadian suppliers and foreign governments to transact defence and security contracts.

The Philippines has been in the market for patrol vessels to protect its waters, including areas that overlap with territory claimed by China.

Manila's military treaty ally the United States is set this year to deliver a second refurbished Hamilton-class cutter, previously used by the US Coast Guard, to the Philippine Navy.

Last month, the Philippine Coast Guard announced it would buy five patrol boats from France for about 90 million euros ($116 million), partly to guard disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Harper and his lean delegation arrived in Manila Friday night.

He was accorded military honours on the Palace grounds when he showed up at 10:30am yesterday.

He then proceeded to sign the presidential guestbook before he and Aquino sat for discussions in the Music Room.

This was followed by an expanded bilateral meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room and the signing of the defence deal and issuance of a joint press statement at the Reception Hall.

A state luncheon at the Rizal Hall hosted by Aquino in honour of Harper and his wife, Laureen, ended the official visit of the Canadian prime minister.

Harper was scheduled to fly back to Canada at 9:30am today.

Harper's visit is the first by the highest Canadian official in 15 years. The last Canadian head of government to visit the Philippines was Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who brought a business delegation to Manila in 1997.

Besides Fast, Harper's delegation included Joseph Oliver, minister for Natural Resources; the first Filipino-Canadian senator Tobias Enverga Jr.; and 10 Filipino-Canadian community leaders.

"Our government is taking actions to aggressively expand commercial relations with the entire Asia-Pacific region. We're doing so to help create jobs, economic growth and a better quality of life both in Asia and in Canada," Harper said at the official reception.

Harper disclosed the "many ties that bind" Canada and the Philippines such as the Foreign Investment Promotion Protection Agreement signed in 1995, and the growing people-to-people links.

There are nearly 800,000 Canadians of Filipino descent living and working in Canada.

With a report from AFP


Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options