STRONGER PH-NETHERLANDS PACT. Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Foreign Affairs Minister of The Netherlands Hanke Bruin Slot sign a memorandum of understanding during Slot’s official visit to the Philippines. The two officials discussed bilateral relations and exchanged views on other regional matters of mutual concern. Avito Dalan



The Philippines and the Netherlands have forged an agreement to boost trade and investment relations to complement an already strong partnership on defense.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot on Monday pushed to designate a focal point to carry out both countries’ understanding of economic and technical cooperation

Slot came to Manila for a bilateral talk with her Filipino counterpart, the first to be taken by a Dutch foreign minister in more than 30 years.

The focal point “would be officials from the Department of Trade and Industry and their Ministry of International Economic Affairs, who would now be sitting down and engaging with each other so as to spur further economic and business-to-business engagement between the two sides,” Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands J. Eduardo Malaya told reporters.

“We’ve been encouraging this for some time because we had noted that there are the joint bilateral consultations, but mostly doing cooperation on the political security and other fields, and it needed to be complemented by economic cooperation,” Malaya added.

During a joint press conference, Manalo stressed he discussed with Slot the “full breadth” of the two countries’ relations, including trade and investments, cybersecurity and law enforcement, and human rights.

He also discussed with her maritime cooperation, which is anchored on “our common heritage as maritime nations,” as well as the safety and security of Filipino seafarers working in Dutch-owned and -flagged vessels.

Slot described her talk with Manalo as “open and constructive,” and expressed hope to enhance the Dutch cooperation with the Philippines.

Water management, agriculture, and circular economy are also among other fields that the Netherlands wants to work on with the Philippines.

She also said the Netherlands is standing by the Philippines in upholding international law, particularly with issues in the South China Sea.

“Both our countries are committed to upholding the international law of the sea. That’s why we will work jointly to build capacity concerning the content and relevance of the law of the sea,” she said.

“Both our countries wish to cooperate more closely to ensure a stable and open Indo-Pacific region. On the basis of our shared interests, values, and views, our countries are working together closely to ensure a safer, more prosperous future for our people,” she pointed out.