ISLAMABAD: The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), China Pakistan Study Center, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Philippines, has organized a seminar on Wednesday. The event, titled “Pakistan-Philippines Bilateral Relations in the Changing World,” aimed to delve into opportunities for strengthened collaboration amid the evolving global landscape.
In his welcoming remarks, Director-General ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood acknowledged the enduring strength of Pakistan-Philippines relations marked by friendship, trust, and mutual understanding. He emphasized the need to elevate bilateral trade, investment, and economic cooperation, sustain a consistent momentum of high-level visits, and foster closer people-to-people exchanges. Ambassador Mahmood also underscored the importance of Pakistan-Philippines relations within the context of Pakistan’s enhanced partnership with ASEAN.
Ambassador Maria Agnes M. Cervantes, Ambassador of the Philippines in Islamabad, highlighted the 25 cooperation agreements signed between Pakistan and the Philippines, reinforcing bilateral cooperation across various tracks. She emphasized the potential for increased economic collaboration, particularly in Information Technology, and stressed the importance of people-to-people exchanges and cultural understanding.
Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the Philippines, Ambassador Mohsin Razi, shared insights into the excellent relations between the two nations, rooted in common values since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1949. He highlighted mutual support on international forums, including the Philippines’ backing of Pakistan’s ASEAN engagement and joint efforts to promote inter-faith dialogue. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral trade between the two countries has significantly increased.
Pakistan-Philippines Economic Cooperation
Chrysl Sicat from the Philippines Embassy discussed economic agreements, pointing out diverse areas for enhanced economic cooperation. She called for a more open policy framework on trade and investment while encouraging streamlined people-to-people exchanges.
Dr. Jay L. Batongbacal, Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Philippines, addressed security issues in the ASEAN region and shared the Philippines’ perspective. He advocated for cooperation in maritime affairs for mutual economic development and security.
Dr. Sameera Imran from NDU explored the potential of bilateral relations in the changing global landscape, advocating for cooperation in research and development between the two countries.
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, emphasized the longstanding friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and the Philippines. He acknowledged multilateral collaboration and the importance of high-level exchanges, also highlighting increased trade and people-to-people contacts.