This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Canada signed on Friday, January 19, a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation at the Philippine Department of Defense (DND).
In a statement to media, Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro characterized the document as a “a strong intention on both sides to deepen and strengthen the relationships by forging new milestones in our defense relations.”
Teodoro added that the evolution in defense ties could, “culminate, perhaps, with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).”
Canada has been keen on a VFA with the Philippines. If that is agreed on, it would become easier for Canadian soldiers to visit the Philippines to participate in joint military exercises, including those with other countries.
Manila and Ottawa are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic ties in 2024. Ottawa has invited President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to visit Canada before the year ends.
The Philippines has been working on deepening ties with existing defense partners, as well as upping defense relations with new or emerging ones.
Better and newer defense relations are crucial for the Philippines, as tensions rise in the region. Marcos himself has characterized the Indo-Pacific as a region having “the most complicated geopolitical situation in the world right now.”
As Canada and the Philippines look towards a possible VFA, Manila comes closer to signing a Reciprocal Access Agreement with Tokyo.
Teodoro, speaking after the signing of the document, said it was important for different nations to “collaborate, particularly in areas of common vulnerabilities.”
“The strongest assets we have are the mutual trust and confidence that we have in one another on a people-to-people basis, and because we are dealing with each other in a straightforward, open, and on a rules-based manner, such trust is reinforced and will surpass political changes and the tests of time,” he said.
Canada was represented by its Ambassador to Manila David Hartman.
In October 2023, Canada gave the Philippines access to its dark vessel detection system, allowing Philippine maritime agencies the ability to monitor vessels at sea, even if they go dark from the Automatic Identification System. – Rappler.com