Philippines, UK Affirm Strong Bilateral Ties at Fourth High-Level Meeting
26 November 2013 – The Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK) held their fourth High-Level Meeting in Manila on November 21. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Laura Q. Del Rosario for the Philippines and by Foreign and Commonwealth Office Director General for Economic and Consular Ms. Barbara Woodward for the UK side.
The two sides discussed the broad range of bilateral relations. Both sides welcomed the increasing high-level political engagements as these strengthen both bilateral relations and partnership in international fora.
As well, both sides agreed to exert greater efforts to build on the achievements of a number of economic missions conducted this year, such as the UK business mission to the Philippines in September led by UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint and the high-level Philippine economic mission to the UK in October led by Trade Secretary Gregorio Domingo and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. In 2012, bilateral trade stood at US$928 million and British investments in the Philippines totalled US$160.3 million.
The Philippine side expressed its sincere appreciation for the UK’s timely and significant contribution to the emergency relief operations in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). As of November 18, the UK’s ₤52-million humanitarian aid package had provided nearly 500,000 shelter kits, hygiene kits, water and sanitation equipment for up to 800,000 people. This is on top of the various British military assets currently deployed in the central Philippines, which include the Royal Navy Destroyer HMS Daring with a 12-person medical team on-board, a Royal Air Force (RAF) C-130 Hercules and a RAF C-17 air transport. The Philippines also extended its thanks to the British public which has already donated a total of ₤33 million to the emergency relief operations via UK-based aid charities as of November 18.
The meeting agreed to a robust implementation of recently signed bilateral agreements, including the Philippines-UK Joint Plan of Action (JPA) and the Air Services Agreement, both signed in December 2012, and the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which was ratified in June 2012. Both sides also expressed hope that the Extradition Treaty would be ratified soon.
Both sides further agreed to consider other bilateral agreements in the fields of consular cooperation as well as in cultural and educational cooperation.
Regional and global developments were also discussed. END