THE Philippines and Papua New Guinea have signed a joint declaration committing to expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation in agriculture.
The joint declaration was signed at the Palace's Reception Hall Wednesday evening, May 16, and was witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.
The joint declaration signifies both nation's shared commitment to expand and strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of agriculture and agro-industries, particularly in areas such as rice grains and industrial crops production; aquaculture and inland fish farming; livestock breeding and improvement; and agri-business development.
O'Neill embarked on a three-day official visit to the Philippines. His trip was seen by Malacañang as an "important opportunity to reaffirm and further strengthen the friendly cooperative ties" between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
O'Neill held a bilateral meeting with Duterte prior the signing of joint declaration.
Duterte, in a joint press statement with O'Neill, revealed that they discussed defense and security cooperation, trade and investment relations, agriculture cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges during their bilateral meeting.
He said O'Neill's visit was a testament of both countries' resolve to further strengthen their bilateral relations, especially that the Philippines considers Papua New Guinea as a "friend to rely on."
"These high-level exchanges demonstrate the depth of our desire to bring our nations and peoples closer. Indeed over the past four decades, we have seen our ties steadily grow," the President said.
"What is different now is that the Philippines and Papua New Guinea want these ties to significantly broaden and deepen our concrete and mutually beneficial cooperation. Prime Minister O’Neill’s visit affords us a valuable opportunity to explore new areas of cooperation on shared interests," he added.
For his part, O'Neill acknowledged the need to expand the two nations' cooperation on trade and investment, as well as in technical and development cooperation.
"We have a very strong presence of the Filipino investment community and not only that but also Filipino workers who are providing good technical support and particularly in education and health in our country," he said.
Before leaving the country on Thursday, May 17, the Papua New Guinea Prime Minsiter will visit the Philippine Rice Research Institute in Nueva Ecija. (SunStar Philippines)