THE Australian Embassy recently celebrated Philippines-Australia Friendship Day 2024 in Baguio.

"The Philippines-Australia Friendship Day is an annual celebration that we take to different parts of the country," said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu. "It is important for us to bring the celebration beyond Manila. Just as Australia is more than its capital, Canberra, the Philippines is much more than its biggest city, and Australia's engagement with the Philippines is spread far and wide."

The ambassador said: "It is a great honor that this year's friendship day was cohosted by Baguio City. I sincerely thank Mayor Benjamin Magalong and the City Government of Baguio for welcoming us here and for his executive order, declaring May 16 to 22 as Philippines-Australia Friendship Week in Baguio. I also thank Baguio Rep. Mark Go for sponsoring House Resolution 1696, congratulating the embassy and the City of Baguio on this year's friendship day celebration."

Australia had been a strong supporter of Baguio's development efforts over the years through capacity-building programs for school leaders, Australia Awards Scholarships for high-achieving Filipinos, and projects that spanned sectors, including disaster and climate change resilience, health security, sustainable mining, and economic empowerment of women and indigenous peoples in the agriculture sector.

This year's Philippines-Australia Friendship Day celebration was the first since the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership.

The signing of the strategic partnership in September last year signified the two countries' shared commitment to work together to create a region that was stable, peaceful and prosperous.

The Philippines-Australia Friendship Day celebration in Baguio reflected some of the key themes of the strategic partnership action plan, deepening defense and development cooperation, continuing shared efforts in agriculture research and collaborating on clean energy transition.

The Philippines-Australia Friendship Day 2024 was copresented by Austal and supported by Acquire BPO, ANZ Bank, AMS Global, Cloudstaff, CPA Australia Ltd., Crone Architects, GHD, Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd., Macquarie Group Ltd., Privasec, OceanaGold Philippines, Orica, Qantas Airways Ltd., QBE Insurance Group Ltd., Telstra, University of Adelaide, Worley Power Services, Deakin University, Western Australia (Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation), and SM Supermalls.