September 22, 2022 | 12:00am
Two days in the past, President Marcos delivered a robust speech on the 77th United Nations Common Meeting Excessive Degree Week in New York: He spoke of elevated strategic tensions and set out the Philippines’ ongoing dedication to an open, inclusive and rules-based worldwide order ruled by worldwide legislation. He spoke in regards to the significance of tackling local weather change and the position of rising applied sciences on our lives. He burdened the significance of reinvigorating the world economic system within the wake of the pandemic, and persevering with funding in Philippine meals safety, public well being, schooling and different social providers. Australia has related priorities and is working intently with the Philippines to advertise our widespread aims.
Australia’s cooperation with the Philippines is broad and deep. It spans protection and safety, improvement cooperation, commerce and funding and people-to-people hyperlinks. There are numerous alternatives for us to work collectively in direction of our widespread aims and, for that reason, I intend to develop our cooperation even additional. To this finish, I can be working to raise our relationship from an already robust base to a fair stronger Strategic Partnership.
Our protection relationship is underpinned by cooperation on counter-terrorism and maritime safety. Australian and Filipino protection personnel have common senior stage dialogues and skilled exchanges and cooperate on numerous coaching and schooling alternatives. Two Royal Australian Navy ships will go to Manila in October as a part of Australia’s annual Indo-Pacific Endeavor. As a part of this go to, Australian and Philippine protection personnel will conduct joint workouts and exchanges on maritime safety, maritime legislation, humanitarian and catastrophe response and gender, peace and safety.
Our maritime cooperation has expanded to incorporate a senior officers maritime dialogue, the place we advance joint maritime safety and marine surroundings tasks. I used to be on the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in 2017 with former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the place within the wake of the 2016 South China Sea arbitral award he articulated Australia’s help for the worldwide rules-based order and expressed concern about tensions within the South China Sea.
Our help for the peaceable decision of disputes and worldwide legislation is unwavering. Certainly, it stays central to the Australian Labor Authorities’s imaginative and prescient for a steady and affluent Indo-Pacific the place sovereignty is revered.
Cyber safety is an more and more regarding drawback for each our nations. This week, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Crucial Expertise, Dr. Tobias Feakin, is in Manila participating with Philippine authorities officers and enterprise leaders on how we are able to work collectively extra successfully to benefit from alternatives and deal with widespread challenges of cyber resilience and safety .
Australia companions with the Philippines to counter violent extremism and help the peace course of in conflict-affected Mindanao. We share a imaginative and prescient of a peaceable and affluent Philippines. Subsequent week, Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism, Mr. Roger Noble, will go to the Philippines to satisfy with senior officers within the Marcos administration to debate methods wherein we are able to work collectively on this mutually vital space.
Australia’s improvement program within the Philippines is certainly one of our largest, totaling roughly P3 billion (AUD80 million) yearly. Our help goals to enhance financial governance, public infrastructure, well being programs and COVID-19 responses. The truth is, simply final week, the Australian Authorities offered 2.28 million doses of pediatric Pfizer vaccines to the Philippines.
Our investments in schooling and abilities improvement promote financial progress, and our work on the enabling surroundings for enterprise and commerce is targeted on girls’s financial empowerment. We help catastrophe preparedness and response programs and foster social cohesion by strengthening governance and social safety.
Our commerce and funding relationship is important and rising. In 2021, the two-way items commerce between our international locations was P183 billion, up by 40 p.c on 2019 ranges. There are over 300 Australian corporations within the Philippines, and important Philippine investments in Australia, together with the AC Vitality Company Photo voltaic Farm Challenge in New South Wales and Worldwide Container Terminal Providers Integrated’s Victoria Worldwide Container Terminal in Melbourne.
Australia has contributed to infrastructure tasks within the Philippines, together with the inside design of the Clark Airport terminal and tunneling for the New Clark Metropolis. On the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Philippine-Australian firm PrimeBMD constructed 9 well being services and acquired a Gold Stevie Award on the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for Most Helpful Company Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our friendship relies on shared pursuits, values and powerful people-to-people hyperlinks. Filipinos are the fifth largest migrant group with over 400,000 residing in Australia. Coaching and schooling exchanges are expansive; Australia supplies scholarships to Filipinos to review masters programs in precedence areas together with financial improvement, schooling and maritime. In 2021, round 13,000 Filipino college students had been learning in Australia.
On local weather change, Australia not too long ago elevated its dedication, by way of laws, to cut back carbon emissions by 43 p.c by 2030 and to web zero by 2050. President Marcos mentioned he would prioritize local weather change motion and environmental safety, together with by decreasing plastic and ocean air pollution. Australia is working with the Philippines to guard its marine surroundings, by coral restoration, geospatial mapping of Philippine maritime options and sources and combating unlawful fishing.
As I wrote in my earlier Letter from Australia, we live in more and more difficult instances. It’s exactly at instances like these that associates come collectively to resolve widespread issues and help each other, and that is precisely what Australia and the Philippines are doing, within the enduring spirit of mateship and bayanihan.
I can be constructing on a relationship that’s already broad and deep, and can work repeatedly to realize much more collectively on the problems of significance for each our governments.
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HK Yu is the Australian Ambassador-designate to the Philippines. Observe her on Twitter @AusAmbPH.