Australian Parliamentarians in the Philippines this week to reinforce strong bilateral ties
A delegation of Australian Senators and Members of Parliament from the Australian Federal Parliament is currently visiting the Philippines and will hold a series of meetings with Philippine Congressional counterparts and local officials in the context of a deepening bilateral relationship. The delegation’s visit follows the recent visits to Manila of Australia’s Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, and former Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd.
The delegation’s leader, Senator Claire Moore from Queensland said, “Our delegation is very pleased to be in Manila at a time when the long-standing and warm relationship between the Philippines and Australia is in such a good state. We are here to meet our political counterparts and other interlocutors to discuss the ways in which our partnership is advancing the interests of Australians and Filipinos.”
“Australia’s broad relationship with the Philippines encompasses a number of areas including development cooperation, defence, police and security cooperation, trade and investment links as well as cultural and science exchanges” Senator Moore noted.
Referring to the recent flooding which struck the Philipines, Senator Moore said, “We are saddened by the floodings earlier this month and the resultant loss of life and property. But we also believe in the resiliency of the Filipino people, which is why our cooperation activities also target disaster risk reduction in conjunction with Filipino authorities.”
“We are also deeply moved by the loss in the past week of one of the Philippine Government’s most effective champions of good governance, Jesse Robredo. But we have faith in the country’s ability to bounce back and will continue to pursue cooperation programs on political reform that would serve to continue Robredo’s legacy,” Senator Moore added.
Australia is the Philippines’ largest bilateral grant aid donor, with an estimated AUS$128.7million (PHP5.5billion) aid program for 2012-2013. This is being delivered under the Australian Government’s new aid policy framework of “making a real difference, delivering real results” that enables planning and implementation of aid investments more effectively in terms of lives saved, people lifted out of poverty, children educated and vulnerable people provided with life-saving assistance in times of crises. In the Philippines, Australia works closely with the government and other partners to address critical gaps in social services for the poorest Filipinos, particularly education, and to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters and conflict.
Senator Moore heads the delegation that includes the Hon Dr. Sharman Stone (Member of Parliament (MP) for Murray, Victoria), John Forrest (MP for Mallee, Victoria), Alan Eggleston (Senator for West Australia) and Bridie Dawson (official secretary to the delegation).
While in Manila, the delegation will meet government officials, private sector representatives and NGOs to discuss the Philippines’ experiences in health and education policy, disaster preparedness and response, foreign policy and political reform, including women’s representation in the political sector.
As well as the Philippines, the Australian Delegation is also visiting Laos and Burma.