Singapore Government Press Release

Media Division, Ministry of Information and The Arts,

36th Storey, PSA Building, 460 Alexandra Road, Singapore 119963.

Tel: 3757794/5


Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Statement: Philippines-Singapore Action Plan, 14 Dec 98


The Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Professor S Jayakumar, and the Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Domingo L Siazon Jr, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to endorse the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP) on 14 December 1998, on the sidelines of the 6th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi.


The MOU, signed in the presence of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, is a follow-up to the desires expressed by two countries to forge renewed and expanded ties during the official visit of Prime Minister Goh to the Philippines in June 1997. It was during this visit that then President Fidel V Ramos proposed the establishment of an Action Plan between Singapore and the Philippines as a framework for strengthening bilateral cooperation.


The PSAP serves as a comprehensive framework for cooperation between Singapore and the Philippines in the areas of economics, information technology, capital market development, education, culture, people-to-people exchanges and defence. The projects outlined in the action plan are based on the complementarity and synergy which exist between Singapore and the Philippines and which can be realised for the mutual benefit of both countries.


In the economic field, both sides see possible cooperation in the development of industrial parks in the Philippines, infrastructure development and promoting tourism. In the field of education, there can be exchanges of teachers and officials as well as the sharing of experiences and expertise in the teaching of science, mathematics and the arts. On cultural cooperation, the National Arts Council of Singapore and the Philippine Commission on Culture and the Arts have already signed a cultural cooperation agreement under which both sides will encourage greater exchanges between performers and experts in the field. The PSAP also focuses on promoting closer ties and understanding between the peoples of the two countries, and provides for exchanges between politicians, government officials, academics, journalists and students. (See attached copy of the PSAP for the full list of cooperation initiatives.)


Singapore is confident that the successful implementation of the PSAP will strengthen bilateral ties between Singapore and the Philippines for mutual benefit.


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14 DECEMBER 1998






  1. During the official visit of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to the Philippines from 9 to 11 June 1997, Prime Minister Goh and President Fidel V Ramos agreed to establish the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP) to :

          1. Provide a framework for strengthening bilateral co-operation through consolidating and formulating new bilateral co-operation initiatives over the immediate, medium and long-term period, taking advantage of the complementarities and synergies that exist between the Philippines and Singapore and;

          3. Strengthen, through wider bilateral co-operation, the sense of friendship and understanding between the Governments and peoples of the Philippines and Singapore, leading to enhanced peace and prosperity for both countries, and the region.


  3. The PSAP shall cover multiple aspects of bilateral co-operation, in particular, economic, information technology, education, cultural, military and people-to-people exchanges, and shall not preclude other areas as may be determined by the two Governments.

  5. The Secretary of Trade and Industry of the Philippines and the Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore shall be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the economic components of the PSAP and shall hold meetings from time to time to review and give advice and directions on these aspects of the PSAP.

  7. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore shall be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the non-economic components of the PSAP and shall hold meetings from time to time to review and give advice and directions on these aspects of the PSAP.

  9. To maximise efficiency and flexibility in realising projects encompassed under the PSAP, counterpart agencies from both sides will utilise existing channels and contacts and report progress of their efforts to the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore respectively from time to time.

  11. The PSAP shall cover the following areas of bilateral co-operation :




(i) Industrial Park Development


There is considerable scope for the Philippines and Singapore to exchange experiences and learn the best practices from each other in setting up industrial


parks from the feasibility study and planning stage to the construction of infrastructure and the management of such parks. The two sides could also work together to ensure the success of joint Philippines-Singapore industrial parks and the companies located therein.


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 (ii) Business Opportunities in Mindanao and Northern Luzon


The regions of Mindanao and Northern Luzon offer significant business opportunities that companies from the Philippines and Singapore could take advantage of. Philippine and Singapore enterprises could :


        1. conduct feasibility studies on prospects in Mindanao which would enable the Philippines and Singapore to co-operate effectively in the booming economy being brought about by the formal linkages created by the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

        3. consider prospects in Northern Luzon, which is part of the Natural Economic Territories (NET) involving South China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The influence of overseas Chinese, the complementarity of resources and needs, and especially the increasing demands as living standards improve, should mark this Philippine region of high interest. The Philippines and Singapore would be willing to explore together the investment potential in Northern Luzon, especially Subic Bay.


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(iii) Promotion of Investments


Singapore companies are interested to invest in the Philippines. Through the identification and development of areas of co-operation between the two countries, it is hoped that Singapore and the Philippines can forge a close economic alliance. The PSBC, with the assistance of STDB, will play an important role in this regard.


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Within the framework of the PSBC :





(iv) Port Infrastructure and Management


The Philippines plans to upgrade its port facilities from the infrastructure base to state-of-the art equipment as well as the training of personnel to manage these facilities. Singapore could contribute to such plans by sharing with the Philippines its experience in port operations and encouraging Singapore investors and port operators to look at opportunities in the Philippines.


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Bacolod CityIloilo City


Port development and construction


San Carlos City


Cargo and passenger (fast) ferry



Cagayan de Oro City


Development and construction of a container terminal


Davao City


Port upgrading


General Santos City


Development of a container terminal



(v) Franchising


Companies in both Singapore and the Philippines have established reputable brand names that could be marketed regionally and internationally. Singapore and the Philippines shall work together to facilitate the business growth of these franchises in the region and beyond.


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(vi) Tourism


Expansion of Flight Frequencies for Both Countries. Both countries should encourage the progressive liberalisation of the bilateral air services agreement for mutual benefit.


Joint Marketing and Promotion. Both the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) could explore a joint marketing and promotion programme to promote mutually beneficial flow of tourists to the Philippines and Singapore. Both National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) concerned would jointly fund this programme on an equal cost-share basis. It could be positioned to feature the Philippines� strong historical, culture, arts and geological attractions with the cosmopolitan appeal of Singapore. Activities that could be included would be joint seminars for travel agents, joint travel agents/media familiarisation trips in the first phase and wholesaler support scheme for tour operators and airlines and promotional activities with trade in the second phase.


Tourism Investments. Blessed with scenic natural attractions, favourable investment incentives and strong government support, the Philippines has great potential for tourism development. Singapore is prepared to facilitate further collaboration between Singapore and Filipino companies so as to tap the tourism investment opportunities available in the Philippines. To achieve this aim, both Singapore and Philippines could continue to leverage on the following existing platforms and agencies to surface investment projects and facilitate investment interest where appropriate:


        1. Philippines-Singapore Business Council;

        3. PDOT/BOI; and

        5. STB/STDB.



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(vii) Productivity and Skills Training


Singapore and Philippines work very closely under the umbrella of the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO). The Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) has co-operated with the Philippines in APO programmes such as Technical Expert Service (TES) and Bilateral Co-operation between National Productivity Organisations (BCBN). The two countries have also developed close ties under the Third Country Training Programme (TCTP).


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There exists considerable potential for close co-operation between the Philippines and Singapore in Information Technology (IT), the new enabler for economic development and social well-being. The Philippines and Singapore have the advantage of a talented and educated manpower, proficient in English. This provides the opportunity for both countries to jointly develop and sustain a competitive edge by exploiting and leveraging on IT. Forging a strategic collaboration on IT will help accelerate IT development in both countries that will be mutually beneficial.


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Singapore has been successful in raising national savings, managing pension fund schemes, and building a world-class financial center. The Philippines can learn from the experience of Singapore. On Singapore�s side, Singapore banks are interested to expand their presence in the Philippines.


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The Philippine and Singapore governments recognise the important role education plays in the pursuit of economic and social development. In this regard, the common medium of instruction � English � used in both the Philippines and Singapore creates vast potential for bilateral education co-operation. The two countries shall share experiences in the teaching of various fields, in particular Science, Mathematics and the Arts. To this end, linkages shall be established between the educational institutions of the Philippines and Singapore, and student and teacher exchanges programmes shall be instituted. The exchange of teachers will enrich the teaching environment in both countries, while student exchanges will help build ties between Singapore and the Philippines for the future.


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The Philippines is known for the vibrancy of its arts and culture, while Singapore is endeavouring to build itself into a world class city of the arts. In this respect, there is tremendous scope for co-operation and exchanges between the two countries in this field. Exchanges in Arts and Culture will promote a greater understanding and appreciation between the two peoples. Furthermore, with the Arts becoming an industry with strong economic potential, co-operation between Singapore and the Philippines will contribute to the harnessing of this economic potential for both countries.


The foundation of bilateral co-operation in this area shall be the MOU on the Singapore-Philippines Cultural Co-operation Programme signed during PM Goh Chok Tong's visit to the Philippines in June 1997. The National Arts Council (NAC) and the Philippine Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) should endeavour to actively implement the MOU with specific and substantial programmes. In addition, Singapore-Philippines co-operation in arts and culture could also extend to museological and archival exchanges, library exchanges and to exchanges of TV and radio programmes between broadcasters in the Philippines and Singapore.


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A fundamental element in building and strengthening ties between the Philippines and Singapore is through enhanced people-to-people exchanges aimed at fostering greater understanding and better coordination among the people and institutions of Singapore and the Philippines as well as promote economic prosperity for the two countries. Such exchanges shall be multi-level and involve Singaporeans and Filipinos from government, the business sector, and non-governmental groups and civic bodies.


(i) Political Leaders and Officials


The political leaders, parliamentarians and government officials of Singapore and the Philippines should meet regularly through exchanges of visits.


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(ii) Academics and Journalists


The exchanges of visits by other opinion-makers, particularly academics and journalists, would also be useful in fostering better mutual understanding between the Philippines and Singapore.


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Defence relations are an important part of the broad based relationship between Singapore and the Philippines. The two defence establishments and armed forces shall work towards progressing existing defence interactions, such as in bilateral military exercises, and identifying new areas of co-operation.


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