The Philippines and Australia held the third Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) on June 16, at the Parliament House in Canberra, where issues such as the defense, trade and investment and people to people linkages were discussed.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Trade Minister Craig Emerson headed the Philippine and Australian delegations, respectively.
During his remarks, Secretary Del Rosario expressed appreciation for Australia's hosting of the meeting, which is the highest bilateral mechanism to review and enhance bilateral relations, as well as cooperation in regional and multilateral fora.
He underscored that the Philippines values its friendship and strong cooperation with Australia, and lauded the achievements made in a wide range of bilateral areas of cooperation, including defense and security particularly counter-terrorism, development cooperation, trade and investments, disaster management and people-to-people links.
Secretary del Rosario noted that Australia is one of the three largest grant aid donors of the Philippines. Australia's development assistance is helping support the efforts of the Philippine Government and people in addressing important development priorities, such as education and health, as well as the peace process in Mindanao, including through technical assistance for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
Both countries looked forward to closer cooperation in the areas of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, among others.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary also underscored the strong people-to-people links between the Philippines and Australia, with a quarter of a million Filipinos in Australia making important contributions not only to the socio-economic development of both countries, but also, notably, in the social fabric of Australian society.
The engagements between both countries in regional and multilateral fora are equally strong and expanding, especially in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), East Asia Summit (EAS), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the United Nations (UN).
The Philippine-Australia strategic cooperation spans many issues of mutual interest, ranging from the development priorities of poverty alleviation and job creation, to other non-traditional security challenges, such as human and drug trafficking, smuggling and piracy.
The Philippines looks forward to Australia's participation at the 4th PAMM to be hosted by the Philippines in 2013.