The two Asian leaders will discuss areas of mutual concern in an effort to expand political, economic, cultural and people-to-people engagement between Singapore and the Philippines.
In an interview with Philippine radio DZIQ, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the two presidents will be discussing “trade, cultural exchanges, people-to-people exchanges.”
Pres. Yacob arrived in Manila on Sunday afternoon, upon the invitation of the Philippine President.
Halimah is Singapore’s first female president and the first Malay head of government in 47 years. She assumed office in September 2017 as the eighth president of Singapore.
Her state visit marks this year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Singapore.
Singapore and the Philippines are both founding members of the ASEAN. Ties between the two countries have remained vibrant and robust through the years. The two countries also enjoy dynamic bilateral economic ties as Singapore is the Philippines’ fifth largest export market worldwide and the 1st in ASEAN, with export receipts amounting to US$4.234 billion in 2018. The city state is likewise the seventh top import supplier of the Philippines, with receipts amounting to US$6.018 billion in 2018.
In 2018, Singapore is Philippines’ second biggest international investor, with investment commitments amounting to P21.18 billion or 11.8% of total foreign pledges. It is also the Philippines’ ninth biggest tourism market worldwide and the first in ASEAN with 171,800 passenger arrivals.
A projected 200,000 Filipinos live and work in Singapore and are actively contributing to the economic development of their host country. Approximately 60% of Filipinos in Singapore are composed of both professionals and skilled workers, while the rest are household service workers.
Over the years, there have been several high-level exchanges of visits between the two countries. The most recent of these visits was the State Visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Singapore on December 15-16, 2016.
When the Philippines hosted APEC and ASEAN in 2015 and 2017, respectively, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attended as Singapore’s Leader. The Philippines reciprocated Singapore’s support when President Duterte actively participated in the ASEAN Summits and related meetings during Singapore’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018. -/TISG