Quezon City (January 19, 2024) – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr., expressed his satisfaction at the robust commitment demonstrated by the Philippines and Canada to deepen and fortify defense relations, during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation between the two countries at the DND on Friday.
“I'm glad to hear that there is a strong intention on both sides to deepen and strengthen the relationships by forging new milestones in our defense relations to culminate, perhaps, with the Visiting Forces Agreement,” Secretary Teodoro said, urging officials to foster working alliances with like-minded countries, and emphasizing the role of the Department of Foreign Affairs in facilitating such connections.
The signing of the MOU, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Canada this year, jumpstarts cooperation between the defense and military establishments of Philippines and Canada on military education, training exchanges, information sharing, peacekeeping operations, disaster response, among others.
In his message, Secretary Teodoro pledged the DND’s commitment to the full implementation of the MOU, in line with the DND’s thrust to strengthen its defense partnerships with like-minded states, given the evolving regional security landscape.
While acknowledging the interrelated dynamics of the Middle East, Europe, and the recent conflict between Pakistan and Iran, Secretary Teodoro noted the imperative for 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 added.
His Excellency David Bruce Hartman, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines, likewise conveyed Canada’s intention to advance its relations with the Philippines and the region as outlined in Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Secretary Teodoro also took a moment to express his gratitude to Ambassador Hartman, acknowledging the latter's role in fostering strong ties between the two nations.
Earlier today, a bilateral defense meeting was also convened to exchange views on global security concerns, as well as to discuss future activities and initiatives between the two countries headed by Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessments and International Affairs Marita I. Yoro for the Philippine side, and Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) Peter Hammerschmidt for the Canadian side.