MANILA — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo and visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly sat down for a bilateral meeting Friday where they agreed to sustain the "momentum" in the bilateral relations of Philippines and Canada.
“This is the time for ambition between Canada and the Philippines,” said Joly in her opening remarks, who said she is visiting the Philippines in the context of Canada’s new Indo Pacific strategy.
She added that the Philippines “is at the core” of this strategy.
The goal, she said, is to ensure that Canada and the Philippines can work together on security issues, trade issues, climate change, the Philippine infrastructure gap, and people to people ties, noting the presence of 1 million Filipinos in Canada.
Canada, Joly said, was determined to have a “stronger presence” diplomatically in the Philippines and in ASEAN.
Manalo said he was keen on sustaining the momentum in the relations, highlighting the 2 countries’ adherence to shared values such as democracy and a rules-based international order.
“Despite the myriad of challenges we have faced in the past year, both the Philippines and Canada have remained loyal to those shared values and, as such, I believe we serve as beacons of hope and freedom to those around us in the region,” Manalo said.
Manalo cited the various areas where the 2 countries can work together to bolster cooperation, including on trade and investment, education and defense.
He added that the meeting was a perfect opportunity to review the relations to ensure that they remain “strategic, dynamic, and mutually beneficial.”
Next year marks the 75th anniversary of Philippines-Canada bilateral relations.