P.S. Res. No. 211
RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES IN RECOGNIZING THE STRONG AND ROBUST AMITY AND COOPERATION BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE AND COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
November 11, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.
Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines
Delivered by HON. WIN GATCHALIAN, Senator of the Republic:
Good afternoon Mr. President, distinguished colleagues.
Mr. President, in the seven decades since the founding of the Republic of the Philippines, conversations about our country’s foreign relations have often revolved around our ties with major military and geopolitical powers. Even now during the present administration, a lion’s share of media attention has been devoted to the emerging shifts in our relationships with the two giants on the world stage today: the United States and China.
In pursuing a more independent foreign policy, however, it is my view that the Philippines must give more attention to cultivating stronger ties with smaller but also formidable allies. In the context of the deepening integration between the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, special attention must be given to developing more fruitful social, economic, defense, and cultural partnerships with our ASEAN neighbors.
In line with this, Mr. President, it is my honor to sponsor a Resolution to recognize the strong and robust amity and cooperation between the Philippines and the undisputed economic powerhouse of ASEAN, the Republic of Singapore, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our proud nations.
Mr. President, five decades of friendship and cooperation with Singapore has made a significant impact on economic development and social progress within the Philippine archipelago. Singapore is our country’s 5th largest export market worldwide, and our 7th largest economic partner with two-way trade volume of 10.49 billion U.S. dollars. In 2018, 21.18 billion pesos worth of investment commitments came from Singapore alone, comprising 11.8% of total foreign pledges and making Singapore our 2nd highest source of investments overall.
I should say, however, that the true potential of our deepening relationship with Singapore lies beyond figures on trade sheets. As the 69th Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow, I was given the humbling opportunity to learn more about Singapore and its people during the study tour visit graciously arranged by the Singaporean government last month. In my meetings with various government officials and civil society leaders, especially in the fields of education and energy, I had the opportunity to learn from Singapore’s enviable, world-class systems.
I also came to realize how similar we are to each other. Due to our unique colonial experiences, the Philippines and Singapore are both complex melting pots of Western influences and Asian sensibilities, a rarity among Southeast Asian states. This common cultural and historical foundation provides Filipinos and Singaporeans with a strong capacity for mutual understanding among one another. It is no surprise, then, that more than 200,000 Filipinos live, work, and study in Singapore, thus mutually contributing to progress and development within our respective societies and economies.
The agreements signed between our countries during the State Visit of Singaporean President Halimah Yacob this September have signaled the development of even stronger ties with our Singaporean brothers and sisters. The partnerships in the fields of innovation, education, cultural cooperation, data protection, waterworks and sewerage systems, human capital, and infrastructure development established by our governments are poised to bring this mutually beneficial relationship between our countries to even greater heights.
With all of this, Mr. President, I respectfully call on this august chamber to adopt this Resolution to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Singapore and the Singaporean people for the important contributions they have made to economic progress and development in the Philippines and throughout the entire ASEAN region. The Senate of the Philippines and the Filipino people look forward to many more years of unwavering friendship and cooperation between our proud Southeast Asian republics.
Thank you, Mr. President.