10 November 2012
President Benigno S. Aquino III together with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that inks the defense and military procurement transactions between the two governments. The MOU ensures the Philippines that only high quality defense equipment will be procured from different Canadian commercial corporations which will be supervised by the Canadian government to ensure that all transactions will be in strict compliance under the signed contracts.
In a joint press statement, President Aquino expressed his optimism that the Prime Minister’s visit to the Philippines which has taken 15 years since a Canadian Prime Minister last visited the country is a testament of a deepening relationship between the two countries.
“Overseas Filipinos are Canada’s largest source of migrant workers. It is therefore only right that our countries work together in order to better guarantee the protection and welfare of our Filipino migrant workers, and to ensure that the labor requirements of Canada are met. As such, we have discussed labor cooperation and mobility,” he said.
President Aquino also mentioned other topics that both leaders discussed during the expanded bilateral meeting such as the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement which the Canadian government has expressed support, and the strengthening of the people-to-people ties of Filipino migrant workers in Canada.
In a reply, Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his support to the fast growing economy of the Philippines calling it Asia’s emerging tiger and the fast growing people-to-people links.
“Nearly 800,000 Canadians have Filipino background now live and working in our country. Indeed for two years now, the Philippines has been the largest source country for immigrants to Canada and Tagalog is now the faster growing language in Canada according to our census. This hardworking Filipino men and women are present in literally every community and make valuable contributions to every sector of our economy,” Prime Minister Harper said.
Following the joint press statement, both leaders engaged in a luncheon hosted by President Aquino. Different Filipino cultural dances were also performed to entertain the Canadian delegation.
The Canadian Prime Minister together with his delegation arrived in the country at 9:30 PM following his state visit to India. His delegation is currently visiting Asian countries to aggressively expand commercial relations with the entire Asia Pacific region which will generate job opportunities and economic growth in Asia and Canada.
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