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.

  • ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes
    ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes

    The Yolanda-inspired film “Taklub” has won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The advocacy film, which had a successful premiere last Tuesday under the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, is directed by 2009 Cannes best director Brillante Mendoza and top-billed by Nora Aunor. The award cited the film’s sensitive portrayal of individuals and communities in the Philippines fighting to continue living despite natural disasters exposing them to suffering and death. …

  • Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam
    Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam

    A 21-year-old orphan from Capiz topped the chemical engineering board examinations held this month. Remington Salaya, a cum laude graduate of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo, ranked first in the board examinations with a score of 83.30 percent. Out of 405 chemical engineering graduates who took the exam in mid-May, 239 passed. …

  • A sunset party for APEC delegates
    A sunset party for APEC delegates

    Greeted by the beat of Ati-atihan drummers, delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting enjoyed a welcome dinner and cultural presentation at sunset yesterday. Dubbed FuntaSea, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach was transformed into a fantasy island, complete with mermaids, fire dancers, and choreographed paraws (sailboat) representing the best of Boracay. With APEC meetings being held all over the Philippines, each presentation is conceptualized …

  • UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute
    UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China’s increased assertiveness has alarmed its smaller neighbors. In Manila, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. appealed to China to respect various international agreements on freedom of navigation and aviation. Coloma’s call came in the wake of an incident Wednesday where Chinese naval forces warned a US …

  • Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center
    Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center

    Philippine Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Elizabeth Buensuceso has called on participants of the ASEAN-China Center (ACC) brainstorming session to vigorously work on promoting ASEAN-China relations under the principles of inclusivity, transparency and centrality. The brainstorming session, attended by the ACC’s joint council and joint executive board members, also involved a midterm review of ACC’s work since its establishment in 2011. The ACC aims to promote …

  • Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation
    Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation

    Distressed Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon may find it more difficult to return home. The government of Lebanon has tightened the rules on repatriation of distressed household service workers (HSWs), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reported yesterday. Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Baldoz said the Lebanese government opted to re-impose a previous policy requiring investigation into every case of HSWs who ran away from their employers and sought …

  • Army execs face attrition over promotion quota
    Army execs face attrition over promotion quota

    Dozens of Philippine Army officials may be removed from the service due to a promotion quota system in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, according to AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang. In a letter to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, he requested that the 30 percent promotion quota – which means that only 30 percent of those eligible for promotion in a given year will actually be promoted – in the Army be raised to 50 percent. Under the military’s attrition law, middle-grade officers …

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options