PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday said the government has strengthened its partnership with Thailand in the fields of trade, investment and security following the visit of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this very solidarity between the Philippines and Thailand was reaffirmed in the meeting I had with the Prime Minister. Our discussions specifically focused on trade and investments, security, and the strengthening of our people-to-people ties,” Aquino announced after his meeting with the Thai leader in Malacañang.
Aquino noted that both Philippine and Thai companies have continued to expand in the two countries “because of the sustained support that our governments and peoples have given them.”
“In terms of investment activity, I noted that Philippine companies such as San Miguel Corporation, Liwayway Food Industries Company Limited, Goldilocks, and Monde Nissin have established their presence in Thailand, while Thai enterprises have likewise opened doors of opportunity for my countrymen. Siam Cement Group, Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corporation, and the Dusit International are only some of the companies that have active operations here on our shores,” the President further noted.
In terms of security, Aquino said he and Chan-o-cha welcomed the signing of the Terms of Reference for the Working Group of the Philippine Army and Royal Thai Army in April this year.
“In the same way that the Prime Minister was instrumental in strengthening the partnership between our Armed Forces during his time as Chief of the Royal Thai Army, so too does he continue to work with us in order to forge the kind of defense relations that enables us to serve our peoples in a more holistic manner,” said the President.
“We are confident that this agreement will further strengthen our defense and security cooperation for the welfare of our peoples and of our brothers in ASEAN,” Aquino added.
In combating illegal drugs, both leaders have also agreed to work toward the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs.
As part of these anti-drug efforts, coordinated operations between Philippine and Thai agencies will be conducted, according to Aquino.
“Through this process, we look forward to sharing information between our relevant law enforcement agencies,” he stressed.
Thailand is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and one of the Philippines’ oldest friends and partners in the region. For more than six decades now, Aquino further emphasized, the Philippines and Thailand have demonstrated the high value both countries place on their ties.
“We have concluded numerous agreements and enhanced our cooperation in areas ranging from air services, to defense; from agriculture and energy, to tourism and culture, amongst many others—all of which redound to the benefit of our peoples,” added Aquino.
At the same time, the president thanked Thailand for its successful term as the country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations, and for its support in the Philippines’ position on its maritime row with the mainland.
“Thailand has truly been a reliable companion of the Philippines in promoting understanding, peace, and stability not only within our community and region, but throughout the larger community of nations,” he told the Thai leader.
Meanwhile, Chan-o-cha thanked Aquino and the government for the “warm welcome” and “highly accorded hospitality extended to me and my delegation.”
“I’m very pleased to visit the Philippines. I am impressed with the beauty of the country, the friendliness, and the smiling faces of the Filipinos as well as the modernity of the Philippines. These are the result of the successful implementation of the vision of “straight path” of President Aquino in developing the country towards stability and sustainability,” he stated.
Chan-o-cha also congratulated the Aquino administration for “reviving the economy to achieving a continued high growth for the past five years.”
“I’ve learned from the newspaper today that during the second quarter of this year, the Philippines achieved the growth of 5.6 percent. As a result, the Philippines is praised by the international community as a ‘new rising star’ of the region. I am confident that the vision laid by President Aquino will serve as an important foundation in guiding the Philippines towards the greater prosperity in the future,” the Prime Minister added.