The Philippines and Singapore are one in the pursuit of peace and stability in the Southeast Asian region.
The Officer in Charge of the Ministry of National Defense (DND) – Under Secretary Jose Faustino Jr. and Ambassador Gerard Ho of Singapore made the commitment during a meeting at DND Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City , August 3.
“The two sides exchanged views on the security situation in the region,” DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in a statement. “Recognizing the realities of strategic competition and overlapping territorial claims, both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region, as well as enhancing cooperation with partners.”
The meeting also pointed out that the Philippines and Singapore are like-minded countries that share common security concerns.
“Faustino recalled the exchanges between the Armed Forces of the Philippines with his Singaporean counterparts during his time in the Philippine Army, and expressed satisfaction with the extent to which [the two countries’] defense relations have come since then,” Andolong said. “The ambassador also noted the bilateral exchanges, and discussed the ongoing discussions on cooperation frameworks between the defense establishments of the two countries.”
The DND spokesperson also said Singapore sees itself as a long-term partner of the Philippines, and Ho also hopes such cooperation frameworks will be finalized soon.
“The OIC assured the Ambassador that DND will work with relevant agencies to follow up on the ongoing review of the proposed frameworks between the Philippines and Singapore,” Andolong confirmed.
The spokesperson added that the Singaporean envoy welcomed Manila’s participation in the Fullerton Forum and the Shangri-La Dialogue, considered the premier annual defense forum in Asia hosted by the city-state.
“He also welcomed the opportunities for [Faustino]…to visit Singapore,” he said.
Polish CDA visits DND
As this developed, Faustino spoke the next day with Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz, Charge d’Affaires (CDA) ai of the Polish Embassy in Manila.
The DND OIC recalled the successful visit of former Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana to Poland in 2021 and proposed the establishment of a dialogue mechanism between the defense establishments of the Philippines and Poland.
He also shared positive comments about the Black Hawk helicopters purchased by the Philippines. CDA welcomed the prospects for defense cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides discussed logistics and defense industry collaboration, with CDA sharing Poland’s experiences in defense technology.
Andolong shared that the CDA has emphasized the importance of training and maintaining existing technology through the establishment of service centers and the maintenance of equipment. These, he said, can be achieved by “exploring possible areas of cooperation between the Philippines and Poland, to include sharing experiences with certain defense technologies.”
The two officials exchanged views on current regional and global security situations, as well as long-term security prospects and existing alliances of their respective countries.
They also recalled the history of their countries in their respective regions. Both parties also mentioned the local economy and the importance of food security.
Faustino expressed his appreciation for the CDA call, as Poland is one of the European countries that has existing defense relations with the Philippines.