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PHL, Palau agree to strengthen cooperation in maritime security, trade, curbing illegal drugs

PHL, Palau agree to strengthen cooperation in maritime security, trade, curbing illegal drugs
VIRGIL LOPEZ February 16, 2018

The Philippines and Palau have committed to strengthen cooperation in various fields including trade, investment, maritime security and combating illegal drug trade, Malacañang said Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte met with Palau President Tommy Remesengau on Thursday in Davao City, where both sides “reaffirmed the importance of the friendship” between two countries, citing “cultural ties, similar histories and shared challenges,” according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Both sides renewed the commitment to enhance and expand cooperation, particularly in education, maritime security and delimitation, agriculture and aquaculture, counternarcotics, connectivity, medical tourism and trade and investments,” Roque said.

??“Both sides instructed their respective senior officials to move discussions forward on cooperation on these matters in the relevant bilateral mechanism,” he added.

Duterte expressed his interest in providing scholarships for Palau citizens who wish to study in colleges and universities for higher education, particularly in the field of medicine.

Both leaders said that their nations had a memorandum of understanding where both countries would exchange knowledge and expertise on medical tourism and referral and higher education.

Remengesau, meanwhile, thanked Filipinos for having been “very instrumental” in the economic development of Palau, an archipelago southeast of the Philippines.

He said Filipino workers make up about 60 percent of the foreign population in their country.

The Palau leader appealed to the Philippine government to reopen its embassy in Palau, which was closed down in 2012 due to budgetary constraints.

Remengesau also mentioned his country’s effort to set up more direct flights between the Philippines and Palau to further improve connectivity and boost tourism cooperation.

Roque said the two leaders looked forward to an exchange of formal visits. ??

Remengesau was accompanied in the meeting by Governor of Ngiwal State Ellender Ngirameketii, Governor of Airai State Tmewang Rengulbai, Chief of Staff Secilil Eldebechel and Oscar TJ Remengesau.

On the Philippine side, present were Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, Commission on Higher Education officer-in-charge Prospero de Vera III, Dangerous Drug Board Chairman Catalino Cuy, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino, Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona and Department of Health Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama Jr.

The Philippines and Palau established diplomatic ties in 1997. — RSJ, GMA News