President Halimah's state visit to Philippines sees 8 agreements exchanged between both countries

President Halimah Yacob with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Sept 9, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA - Eight agreements were exchanged between Singapore and Philippine agencies on Monday (Sept 9).

The memorandums of understanding (MOUs) covered areas such as water resource, agri-trade, agri-tech, skills training and education, and emerging areas such as smart city infrastructure and data protection.

The agreements were exchanged at the Malacanang Palace and witnessed by President Halimah Yacob and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Madam Halimah is in the Philippines on a five-day state visit, which began on Sunday.

The exchange also marks Singapore's first data protection-related MOU with a data protection authority in Asean.

Singapore's Personal Data Protection Commission will be working with the Philippines' National Privacy Commission to cooperate on issues such as the mutual exchange of information and assistance in joint investigations and the development of compatible mechanisms to facilitate cross-border data flows, and explore the use of sandboxes to test innovative data sharing ideas.

Besides data protection, Singapore agency Infrastructure Asia will collaborate with the Development Bank of the Philippines to support infrastructure development in the Philippines.

Both parties will jointly identify local government unit partners in the Philippines that would benefit from the sharing of best practices and technical advisory in various fields, including smart cities, urban mobility, climate resilience, water supply and sanitation, and off-grid renewable energy.

Enterprise Singapore will also collaborate with the Philippines' Department of Agriculture on agricultural infrastructure development, agricultural trade and agri-tech.

The other agreements include partnerships in the areas of water management, workforce skills development, cultural cooperation, and education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

President Halimah said in a toast speech before a state banquet hosted by President Duterte: "These MOUs span a wide range of areas... They exemplify the breadth and depth of bilateral cooperation and how there is so much more we can do together to improve the lives of our peoples."

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