Mario Fetalino

Aussies to boost PH gains in WPS

February 29, 2024 Mario Fetalino Jr. 101 views

AUSTRALIA’S recent commitment to partner with the Philippines in various maritime concerns is an affirmation for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s thrust in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Marcos’ WPS strategy — moving from diplomacy to a more assertive stance – has enabled the government to score humble victories in its contest with China over water territories.

Since adopting a paradigm shift, the Philippines has started dismantling floating barriers installed by China and increasing its coast guard in the disputed seas allowing Filipino fishermen to raise their catch.

Most importantly, the government continuous to enjoy growing support from the international community that promotes global peace and free trade.

Earlier, Marcos went to Australia to address members of its parliamentary.

He expressed optimism that the Philippines and Australia will continue to elevate their relations by improving defense, economic, maritime, and technology cooperation.

The President had a very engaging discussion with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on a wide range of opportunities and issues under the two nations’ strategic partnership.

The conversation centered on ways to maximize the enhanced status of relations between the two countries, including on defense, maritime cooperation.

It also tackled non-traditional security concerns, trade and investment, development cooperation, multilateral collaboration, and people-to-people linkages.

Three agreements, signed during Marcos’ visit to Canberra, would help enhance information sharing, capability-building, and interoperability between the relevant government agencies of both countries in the maritime domain and maritime environment.

They also covered cyber and critical technology, and competition law.

The three agreements add to the over 120 existing agreements between the Philippines and Australia in various fields, including defense cooperation, air services, education, research, and scientific and cultural cooperation.

“The Prime Minister and I both agreed to continue to look for ways to explore every option possible, to bring our countries closer than ever and collectively, with optimism and hopeful outlook, to be a force of good, unity, stability, and prosperity in our region,” Marcos said.

The Chief Executive is looking forward to amplifying the joint activities and the capacity-building efforts between the Philippines and Australia, considering that defense and security remains a key area of cooperation of the two countries.

He said future consultations and dialogues are welcome to explore and map the uncharted waters that can bring in new opportunities for a closer and stronger relationship between the two countries.

Marcos is also hopeful about the two nations’ deepening economic ties to enable them to withstand shocks and become resilient against economic coercion.

He added that an improved economic cooperation would provide an enabling environment for the Philippine and Australian businesses and labor markets to further flourish.

“At the same time, we look forward to our robust people-to-people ties to drive greater cooperation between our two countries and our peoples,” Marcos said.

“The significant Filipino diaspora, the fifth largest immigrant community here in Australia, has contributed significantly to the economic and cultural well-being not only of our country but yours as well. It is also an undeniable indicator of Australia’s openness to embrace a globalized and interconnected world,” he added.

Marcos is in Canberra as a “guest” of the Australian government.

Before delivering a joint statement with Albanese, he addressed the Australian Parliament, highlighting the need for the two countries to work together to defend and uphold “open, inclusive, and rules-based” international order.

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