Philippines Seeks Expanded Defense Cooperation with Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and the President of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos address a joint press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, on March 12, 2024. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)
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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Explores Expanded Defense Cooperation with Germany

During his three-day working visit to Berlin, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed the Philippines’ interest in strengthening defense cooperation with Germany. In a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the President discussed the importance of advancing peace and development in the Philippines and promoting the rules-based international order.

Germany has been a formal defense partner of the Philippines since 1974, providing training for the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. President Marcos emphasized the Philippines’ openness to discussions on cooperation that goes beyond training, particularly in areas such as cyber and maritime domains.

The President also expressed appreciation for Germany’s continuous support in the capacity-building of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The two countries’ transport agencies have recently signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Strengthening Cooperation in the Maritime Sector, further enhancing their partnership in this area.

Enhancing Trade and Investments between the Philippines and Germany

President Marcos and Chancellor Scholz also discussed ways to enhance trade and investments between the Philippines and Germany. Germany is the Philippines’ 11th trading partner and a major source of foreign direct investment.

Notable German companies such as Siemens, Lufthansa, Deutsche Bank, Bayer, and Bosch have a presence in the Philippines. The President highlighted the Philippines’ strong economic outlook, with a GDP growth rate of 5.6 percent in 2023, surpassing major economies in Asia.

The Philippines is keen on cooperating with Germany in various sectors, including manufacturing, construction and infrastructure, IT-BPM, innovation and startups, as well as renewable energy and minerals processing. President Marcos emphasized that investing in the Philippines is now more attractive due to legal reforms that allow full foreign ownership in sectors such as railways, airports, expressways, telecommunications, and renewable energy.

Recognizing the Contribution of Filipino Workers

President Marcos acknowledged the important contribution of Filipino healthcare workers and other Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the culture and economy of Germany. He noted Germany’s interest in expanding labor cooperation to include other skilled Filipino workers and professionals.

The President reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring the welfare and protection of Filipino workers abroad. He emphasized that the Philippines remains committed to addressing issues through dialogue and consultation, while firmly defending its sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in accordance with international law.

In conclusion, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s visit to Germany signifies the Philippines’ desire to strengthen defense cooperation and enhance trade and investments between the two countries. The discussions with Chancellor Olaf Scholz highlighted the importance of promoting peace, development, and the rules-based international order. The Philippines also expressed appreciation for Germany’s support in capacity-building and recognized the contribution of Filipino workers to Germany’s culture and economy. With a strong economic outlook and favorable investment climate, the Philippines presents attractive opportunities for German companies to expand their presence and engage in various sectors of the economy.

Source: The Manila Times

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