As part of the effort to reinvigorate the country’s bilateral engagements with partners from various regions, the Philippines hosted the 3rd Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) with Colombia on September 1.
The BCM was co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo and his Colombian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Patti Londoño.
The two senior officials discussed a broad range of issues from security cooperation, especially to combat organized crime, illicit drugs, kidnapping, and terrorism, to cooperation in social issues, such as women empowerment and early childhood care and development. There was also a robust exchange of view on deepening bilateral economic cooperation, especially through trade missions and linking tourism associations and travel agencies.
“Recent weeks has seen the Philippines step up efforts to reach out to our Latin American friends consistent with President Duterte’s independent foreign policy. With Colombia we were able to have a comprehensive and dynamic discussion on how best to move the relationship forward, especially that it has a myriad complementarities which enabled us to identify and agree on 19 action points to be implemented soonest”, stated Undersecretary Manalo.
The two senior officials exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues impacting both East Asia and Latin America, particularly on recent developments in the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN, and Colombia’s Chairmanship of the Pacific Alliance.
Undersecretary Manalo also encouraged Colombia to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to further solidify Colombia’s partnership with the Philippines and ASEAN.
Deputy Foreign Minister Londoño was also in the country to mark the opening of the Colombian Embassy in the Philippines under Ambassador Victor Echeverri.
This is the 3rd BCM between the Philippines and Colombia since the MOU Establishing the BCM was signed on January 29, 2009. It also follows the working visit to the Philippines of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2015. The next BCM will be held in Colombia in 2018.