Philippines, Singapore sign 5 bilateral agreements as more health workers sought

President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Singapore
Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made his first state visit to Singapore from September 6-7 2022. (PHOTO: Office of the President)

Singapore has officially tabled a request to continue recruiting health care professionals from the Philippines, as the two countries also signed a series of bilateral agreements.

The Joint Communique on the Recruitment of Filipino Healthcare Workers will pave the way for the continued deployment of Filipino health workers to the city-state, as well as greater bilateral cooperation in the field of healthcare, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Wednesday (September 7).

The following bilateral agreements were also signed:

  • Arrangement Concerning the Assignment of a Team to the Regional Counter-Terrorism Information Facility in Singapore between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Singapore Armed Forces

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Field of Digital Cooperation between the Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Philippines and the Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore

  • Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration on the development of New Clark City, between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) of the Philippines and Enterprise Singapore

  • Renewal of the MOU on Cooperation in Personal Data Protection between the National Privacy Commission of the Philippines and the Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore

  • Renewal of the MOU on Water Collaboration between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System of the Philippines and the Public Utilities Board of Singapore.

The agreements were signed as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made his first state visit to Singapore from Tuesday to Wednesday, where he called on President Halimah and met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"President Halimah expressed Singapore’s appreciation for the invaluable contributions of Philippine healthcare workers and frontline personnel to Singapore’s COVID-19 response," said an MFA spokesperson.

On Tuesday, at a gathering with almost 2,000 Filipinos at the National University of Singapore, Marcos told his fellow countrymen that they are admired in Singapore. Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople also revealed that the joint communique concerned the city-state's intention to hire an initial 3,000 Filipino health workers.

BCDA chairperson and former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also told reporters in Singapore that Clark Air Base is set for redevelopment by the BCDA in partnership with a Singaporean company. According to MFA, BCDA and Enterprise Singapore will jointly develop the New Clark City through technology transfer and partnerships in urban and smart city solutions.

The MFA spokesperson noted that despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, bilateral trade amounted to US$16.5 billion in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 17.2 percent. Singapore was also the Philippines’ largest foreign investor in 2021, with investments totalling US$1.5 billion.

As of 2020, Singapore’s cumulative FDI into the Philippines was US$6.9 billion, mainly in real estate and hospitality, telecommunications, transport and logistics, consumer goods, and utilities.

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