Press statement by Minister Bruins Slot in Manila, the Philippines, 30 October 2023

Press statement by Hanke Bruins Slot, Minister of Foreign Affairs, following the bilateral meeting with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Enrique A. Manalo, in Manila, the Philippines, 30 October 2023.

The spoken word applies.

Good morning,

It’s a pleasure to be here on this important day.

A holiday that enables everybody to vote. So a day to celebrate, the Barangay elections.

Because elections truly are a celebration of democracy!

So far, I’ve only seen a glimpse of Manila, but I can tell it’s a very vibrant city. I hope one day to explore more of the country.

Because your hospitality is heartwarming.

Secretary Manalo and I had a very productive meeting, besides the signing of the MoU on Gainful Employment of Diplomat’s Dependents, which facilitates further enhancement of our diplomatic relations. We discussed also our common agenda and reflected on the excellent relations between the Philippines and the Netherlands. 

Our bilateral relationship goes back 72 years.

We’re important trading partners and we collaborate in many areas, including on sustainable trade, innovative agriculture, water management, human rights and on the fight against online sexual exploitation of children.

And that’s what we also focused on today, in an open and constructive conversation.

Looking forward and exploring ways to enhance our cooperation even further. 

We discussed how we can further promote trade and investments by Dutch companies in the field of water management, agriculture, and a circular economy.

Both our countries have long coastlines.

A large part of the Netherlands lies below sea level, and was actually created out of our fight against water.

We know the Philippines has its challenges with water as well.

On water management and flood protection we can certainly work together.

But also on climate change, climate adaptation and a circular economy we share the same values and can work together.

We also are both seafaring nations, with a strong maritime history and industry.  About 20,000 Filipinos work on Dutch ships, and they are doing fantastic work there.

Both our countries are committed to upholding the international law of the sea. That's why we will work jointly to build capacity concerning the content and relevance of the law of the sea.

The Netherlands stands with the Philippines in its call for the full observance of international law in the South China Sea. In that light, we support the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that vindicated the Philippines’ claims. We urge all parties to respect this ruling and to refrain from confrontational actions.

Both our countries wish to cooperate more closely to ensure a stable and open Indo-Pacific region.

On the basis of our shared interests, values and views, our countries are working together closely to ensure a safer, more prosperous future for our people.

Thank you.