WITH enough economic reforms in the past years, Australian companies are looking to invest in the Philippines, the Australian Ambassador to Manila said.
Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson AO said “What I’m seeing is lots of Australian companies wanting to come to the Philippines that haven’t been here before, so I think that’s an area of potential focus.”
He noted that in the last few years, there are “enough reforms” that would likely attract Australians to invest in the country.
The Philippines and Australia are set to elevate their strategic partnership in several areas such as peacebuilding, economic recovery, trade, security cooperation among others.
This was the result of a series of talks and high-level engagements between the two nations over the past years.
“What they did in August 2021 (Philippine-Australia Ministerial Meeting) was to set up a pretty ambitious program, which talked about the areas of development that were involved in: peacebuilding, economic recovery, trade, security cooperation and the like. And what that has resulted in is that we’re going to elevate our bilateral relationship to what’s called a strategic partnership at the end of this year,” Robinson AO said.
The envoy said this does not only reflect the expansion of cooperation between the two nations but also how Australia regards the Philippines as a close partner in the region.
On education, Robinson said Australia is investing at least 90 million Australian dollars between 2017 and 2026 to help strengthen basic education in the Bangsamoro region.
“Peacebuilding too is important to Australia and what we do down in the south, in the BARMM really matters. We’re a strong supporter of peace and development in Mindanao,” he said.
“And that’s going to be important in the future in terms of the stability not only of the Philippines but also the entire region,” he added.
More than 50 percent of the annual PHP3 billion Australian aid program goes to Mindanao to support the peace process, normalization, education, and conflict reduction.
Robinson said Australia would continue this close engagement with the Philippines under the incoming administration.
“I think it’s pretty much as we have before, I don’t think there’s much change in the way in which we’ll focus on the Philippines. The defense relationship is really important, the development assistance, the trade and investment is growing,” he said.