The Philippines and Canada are expected to deepen relations on defense and maritime cooperation during the upcoming visit of Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo will be meeting Joly on May 19 where he will bring up cooperation on the said areas as well as the recent developments in the West Philippine Sea, the Asia-Pacific and Europe. The two top diplomats will also discuss enhanced trade and investment and cooperation in the energy sector, among others, the DFA said. ‘I welcome Foreign Minister Joly’s visit to the Philippines as an avenue to deepen our two countries’ collaboration based on our shared values, including democracy and adherence to a rules-based international order,’ Manalo said. ‘The Philippines and Canada’s continued cooperation shows how partnerships based on those shared values can withstand numerous challenges and obstacles. I look forward to discussing matters of mutual interest and benefit to our countries and I am optimistic that this meeting can build on our nations’ rich and storied friendship,’ he added. The anticipated meeting is the fourth visit of a Canadian Cabinet minister during the Marcos administration, which the DFA said indicates a ‘return to high-level engagements between the two countries.’ The visit came less than a year since Canada launched its CAD2.3 billion Indo-Pacific strategy that positions Manila as its important partner in the region. Last March, Canadian Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan personally relayed to Manalo the intent to strengthen collaboration in building capacity, especially in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), combatting illegal fishing, food security, agriculture and health. With Joly, the DFA said Manalo will also highlight the strong people-to-people ties between the two states, specifically the large Filipino diaspora in Canada. Data from the DFA showed there are almost a million individuals of Filipino descent in Canada, representing 2.59 percent of the country’s population. Bilateral ties between the two countries began in December 1949 when Canada established a trade mission in Manila.
Source: Philippines News Agency