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PBBM: Canberra trip ‘significant step’ in elevating PH-Australia ties

MANILA: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Thursday his two-day visit to Canberra is crucial in advancing the relations between the Philippines and Australia.

In his arrival statement after his Canberra trip, Marcos said Australia remains and will continue to be ‘one of (the Philippines’) closest friends.’

‘This visit is a significant step in realizing the opportunities and potentials set forth by our decision to elevate the bilateral relationship with Australia from a comprehensive to a strategic partnership,’ he said.

‘In the spirit of bayanihan (teamwork) and mateship, we shall forge ahead in fully maximizing the potentials and the gains of the strategic partnership between our two forward-looking, law-abiding maritime states. I look forward to exerting our tireless efforts to attain this vision.’

Marcos, who flew to Canberra on Wednesday as a ‘guest’ of the Australian government to address the Australian Parliament, said he had ‘productive’ discussions with the host country’s parliamentary leaders

He said his engagements with Australia’s Senate president, House of Representatives Speaker, and opposition leader helped him gain their support, which is ‘instrumental in developing an enabling policy environment for the continuous upward orientation for our bilateral relations.’

‘I conveyed to Australian legislators the important role of both nations as proponents of the rules-based international order and its significance amidst the present complexities in the global geopolitics,’ Marcos said.

He said he also took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of a mutually beneficial economic relationship to support the two nations’ efforts in building economic resilience and achieving inclusive economic growth.

‘In the same vein, we acknowledged the role of our long-standing people-to-people ties to support and inspire our efforts for closer Philippine-Australia relations,’ he said.

The President said he also met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to maximize the opportunities from the t
wo countries’ strategic partnership.

He said he discussed with Albanese the need to improve cooperation in various areas, including trade, investment, and security.

He also noted that three agreements were signed between the Philippines and Australia in the fields of maritime cooperation, cyber and critical technology, and the implementation of competition laws.

‘Concluding such MOUs (memorandum of understanding) will pave the way for more beneficial undertakings, information sharing, and capacity-building foreseen to promote closer bilateral ties and contribute to regional development, peace, and prosperity,’ Marcos said.

Fruitful trip

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año on Friday said the successful visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to Australia marks a significant milestone in strengthening the long-standing and enduring ties between the two nations.

“It highlighted the Philippines’ unwavering support for regional peace, emphasizing the crucial role of both countries in upholding the rules
-based international order and a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of the complexities in global geopolitics,” he added in a statement.

Año said Marcos’ discussions with Australian leaders, particularly Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, further solidified the foundation for the strategic partnership on trade, investment and security initiatives.

“The signing of three bilateral agreements covering maritime domain, cyber and critical technology, and competition laws and policies exemplifies the tangible outcomes of the President’s visit, which will contribute to the continued advancement of our capabilities to meet many of our urgent national security challenges,” he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency