MANILA: As delegates from the Emirati National Defense College continued their week-long visit to the southeast Asian country, the Philippine military expressed interest in strengthening defense and security cooperation between the UAE and the Philippines.
The 19-person group from the Abu Dhabi-based college arrived in the Philippines on March 11 for the first of what is expected to be many study tours aimed at fostering closer ties between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.
Chief of Staff General Andres Centino was quoted by the Philippine military as saying that the trip was a “opportunity to build relations with allies.”
In a statement, the military said: “He emphasized the significance of dynamic exchanges of information to acquire better perspectives and create good relations with the country’s partners and allies.
And he pushed for deeper defense and security ties between the two countries, saying, “We should do more of this.”
Discussions between Manila and Abu Dhabi to strengthen defense ties have progressed far.
“A defense MoU (memorandum of understanding) is being finalized,” Alfonso A. Ver, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, recently told Arab News.
Last year, he said, “several companies from the UAE’s defense conglomerate EDGE visited the Philippines for possible cooperative ventures.” The UAE is a state-owned weapons manufacturer.
On Wednesday, the UAE delegation met with officials from the Philippine Information Agency and the National Defense College of the Philippines to discuss shared security concerns.
Dr. Alan Lachica, acting vice president for academic affairs and dean at NDCP, noted that the Philippines and the UAE both faced similar risks due to their locations in regions experiencing rapid geopolitical shifts.
According to PNA, Lachica praised the United Arab Emirates as a “major ally” in the Gulf.
To quote one official: “This visit is significant in terms of our defense diplomacy and foreign policy.”