(Photo from DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo’s Twitter account)




Metro Manila, Philippines— The Philippines and Indonesia agreed to strengthen cooperation to address common challenges and global concerns at the 7th Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) held in Manila on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi spearheaded the JCBC ahead of the arrival of Indonesian President Joko Widodo for his three-day official visit to Manila.

The last JCBC meeting between Philippine and Indonesian foreign ministers was held in 2014

In a post-meeting statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that the JCBC serves as the primary dialogue mechanism between the Philippines and Indonesia to review accomplishments on mutual collaboration initiatives.

Participants in the JCBC discussed the progress of the Philippine-Indonesia Plan of Action that covers political and security, border issues, regional and global issues, economic cooperation, sociocultural and people-to-people exchange, and judicial and consular matters between the two countries.

“We committed to continue implementing our Plan of Action towards further elevating our bilateral relations to new heights, especially as we mark the 75th anniversary of Philippines-Indonesia diplomatic relations this year,” said Manalo.

The DFA chief added that the JCBC allows both foreign ministers to exchange views on key challenges.

“The current geopolitical challenges both within and beyond our region continue to have an impact in our political security and economic interest,” he said.

Manalo said among issues of mutual concern are the tensions in the West Philippine Sea, the crisis in Myanmar, and the war in Gaza.

For her part, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marsudi emphasized Jakarta’s readiness to cooperate in ensuring a peaceful and stable South China Sea.

“Indonesia is ready to work together with all ASEAN member states to finalize the code of conduct as soon as possible in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea,” said Marsudi.

The Indonesian top diplomat also expressed concern over the worsening situation in Gaza due to the Israel-Hamas war.

“We are also alarmed by the humanitarian crisis in Palestine especially in Gaza where more than 23,000 people have been killed, and most of them are women and children,” Marsudi added.

“Israel’s atrocities must be stopped. The position of Indonesia is clear and consistent to defend justice and humanity for Palestine,” she continued.