Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge (OIC) Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (right) and Singaporean Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho (left) (DND photo)

MANILA – The Philippines and Singapore stand united in pursuing peace and stability in the Southeast Asian region amid overlapping territorial claims.

Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge (OIC) Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. and Singaporean Ambassador to Manila Gerard Ho made this commitment during a meeting at the DND headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on August 3.

"The two sides exchanged views on the security situation in the region. Acknowledging the realities of strategic competition and overlapping territorial claims, both sides concurred on the significance of maintaining peace and stability in the region as well as strengthening cooperation with partners," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement late Thursday.

The meeting also highlighted that the Philippines and Singapore are like-minded countries that share common security concerns.

"Senior Undersecretary Faustino recalled exchanges between the Armed Forces of the Philippines with its Singaporean counterparts during his time at the Philippine Army and expressed satisfaction over how far Philippines-Singapore defense relations have come since then. The Ambassador also noted bilateral exchanges and raised the pending discussions on frameworks of cooperation between the defense establishments of the two countries," Andolong said.

He also added that Singapore envisions itself as a long-term partner of the Philippines.

Ho also hoped that such frameworks of cooperation would be concluded soon.

"The OIC, DND assured the Ambassador that the DND will work with relevant agencies in following up the pending review of proposed frameworks between the Philippines and Singapore," Andolong said.

Andolong added that Ho welcomed Manila's participation in the Fullerton Forum and the Shangri-La Dialogue, which is known as Asia's annual premiere defense forum hosted by Singapore.

"He also welcomed opportunities for the OIC, DND to visit Singapore," he added.

Polish Chargé d' affaires visits DND

As this developed, Faustino also met with Jaroslaw Sozczepankiewicz, Chargé d' affaires (CDA), a.i. of the Polish Embassy in Manila last August 4.

The meeting took place at the EDSA Lounge of the DND Social Hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. 

Faustino recalled the successful visit of the former defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana to Poland in 2021 and proposed the establishment of a dialogue mechanism between the defense establishments of the Philippines and Poland. 

Faustino also conveyed the positive feedback on the "Black Hawk" helicopters that were previously transferred to the Philippines. The CDA welcomed prospects of defense cooperation between the Philippines and Poland. 

Both sides discussed logistics and defense industry collaboration with the CDA sharing the experiences of Poland in the field of defense technology. 

"The importance of training and sustaining existing technology through providing service centers and maintenance of equipment was underscored with the CDA exploring possible areas of cooperation between the Philippines and Poland to include sharing of experiences with certain defense technology," Andolong said.

The two officials exchanged views on the current regional and global security situation as well as long-term security outlooks and the existing alliances of their respective countries. 

They also recalled the history of both the Philippines and Poland in their respective regions.

Both sides also mentioned the economy and the importance of food security. 

Faustino expressed appreciation for the CDA's call as Poland is one of the European countries that has existing defense relations with the Philippines. (PNA)