Canberra, Australia
24 October 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP congratulated President Benigno S. Aquino III for the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro during their meeting with the Australian ministers held at the Parliament House. The two leaders believe in the importance of full implementation of the agreement in order to bring improvements to the security and property of communities in the southern Philippines. The Prime Minister also acknowledged the President’s reform agenda that will uphold good governance, transparency and accountability in government.

With regards to trade, Prime Minister Gillard announced that it has been agreed to extend Australian market access for Philippine mangoes. On the issue of the South China Sea, the Prime Minister said that Australia did not take a position on the territorial claims but appealed to claimant governments to pursue their territorial claims in compliance with international law. The two leaders encouraged ASEAN countries and China to conclude a regional Code of Conduct in the South China Sea at the earliest possible time.

It was also announced by President Aquino and Prime Minister Gillard that both the Philippines and Australia will work hand-in-hand in improving the access to education in Mindanao through the Basic Education Assistance to Mindanao-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) program which will bring in a community-based education in remote communities, integrate health and hygiene programs, as well as the access to quality early childhood education.

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