IN NUMBERS: PH-Singapore relations through the years

Aljohn De Leon
IN NUMBERS: PH-Singapore relations through the years
(UPDATED) Here are some figures that show how robust ties between the Philippines and Singapore are

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to travel to Singapore for a state visit from December 15 to 16 as part of his obligations as chairperson of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

He is expected to join Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, son of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, in a bilateral meeting while Singapore President Tony Tan is set to host a state banquet. 

Just like his other state visits to other countries, Duterte will also meet the Filipino community in Singapore.

Despite having a very small population of just over 5.61 million Singaporeans, the country remains one of the biggest economies in the Southeast Asian region.

It also houses people of various nationalities – including Filipinos, many of whom work as domestic helpers. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) pegs the number of Filipinos in Singapore at around 180,000. 

The relationship between the two countries is considered good. 

However, bilateral relations were put to a test by the case of Filipino domestic helper Flor Contemplacion in 1995. Her execution in the city-state prompted the Philippines to downgrade its diplomatic ties.

Contemplacion was meted the death penalty for the murder of her 4-year-old ward and another Filipino worker in the city-state. Singapore refused to heed Manila’s request to stay the execution of the mother of 4, triggering national outrage against Singapore. Ties were normalized a few months later, after Singapore agreed to a third-party investigation which sustained its decision on the case.

Since then, bilateral relations between the two countries have steadily improved. From the peace agreement collaboration down to their tourism industries, here are some figures that show how Singapore and the Philippines have boosted each other’s growth in the economic, immigration, commerce, security, and tourism fields.

Demographics

141,453

Overseas Filipino workers in Singapore as of 2015

71,500

Filipino domestic helpers in Singapore as of 2015

85,500

Professional Filipinos working in Singapore as of 2015

Tourism

120,241

Singaporean tourists in the Philippines from January to November 2016

509,271

Filipino tourists in Singapore from January to November 2016

Diplomatic relations

1969

establishment of diplomatic bilateral relations between the Philippines and Singapore

1973

establishment of the Singaporean embassy in the Philippines

1990

official Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration of the Singaporean-Philippines Association (SPA), an avenue for the Singaporean immigrants to build a sound relationship and improve fellowship with the rest of the Filipino community

1998

signing of the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP), a combined outline for bilateral support, specifications on economic assistance, capital market development, among others


Officials’ visits to PH and Singapore

1976

state visit by then president Ferdinand Marcos from January 27 to 29

1986

state visit by then president Corazon Aquino from August 24 to 27

1993

state visit by then president Fidel V. Ramos from February 11 to 13

1995*

a planned state visit by then Singaporean prime minister Goh Chok Tong in March was cancelled following the Flor Contemplacion controversy

1998

state visit by then president Joseph Estrada from October 11 to 14 (Estrada’s first state visit as president)

2001

state visit by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from August 24 to 26

2007

Then Singapore president S.R. Nathan’s state visit to the Philippines from February 13 to 16

2007

state visit by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from June 23 to 26 (Arroyo also attended the World Economic Forum in Singapore)

2011

state visit by then president Benigno Aquino III from March 9 to 11 (Aquino met with then president S R Nathan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong)

2014

Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s first state visit to the Philippines from April 2 to 5

2015

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joins the 2015 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting hosted by the Philippines from November 18 to 19

Economy and trade

P10.2 billion

amount of Singaporean investments in the Philippines in the second quarter of 2016

$4.373 billion

total trade between Singapore and the Philippines in 2016. Singapore is the Philippines’ top trading partner in ASEAN.

$1.809 billion

total amount of exports from the Philippines to Singapore in 2016

$2.564 billion

total amount of imports by the Philippines from Singapore in 2016

$61.3 million

difference of Singaporean investments between 1994 and 1995 in the Philippines amid the Flor Contemplacion execution. Investments plummeted from US$65 million in 1994 to US$3.7 million in 1995.

50,000

metric tons of swine products’ pilot shipment from the Philippines to Singapore discontinued as a result of the Ebola Reston virus threat. 

Assistance

$50,000

amount of financial contribution of the government of Singapore to help victims of Typhoon Bopha (Typhoon Pablo) in December 2012

$292,103

amount of money contributed by the government of Singapore to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda) in November 2013

– Updated by Jodesz Gavilan/Rappler.com

SOURCES: Embassy of the Republic of Singapore, Philippine Gazette, Singapore Tourism Board, Department of TourismPhilippine Labour Immigration: Critical Dimensions of Public Policy, Philippine-Singapore Business Council, Philippine Statistics Authority, various news reports

Aljohn de Leon is a Rappler intern.

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