Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Evan P. Garcia led the Philippine delegation to the 5th Philippines-Finland Political Consultations held in Helsinki on May 19. The Finnish delegation was headed by Secretary of State Peter Stenlund.
The two sides had substantive discussions on measures to enhance their bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of trade and investment, renewable energy, disaster risk reduction, weather forecasting, and education. The two delegations also exchanged views on regional and international security issues.
Finland welcomed the commitment of the Philippines to good governance, which has resulted in a more competitive and attractive business environment. The two sides agreed to cooperate with each other in organizing trade and investment missions.
The Philippines expressed appreciation for the humanitarian support extended by Finland in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Acknowledging the extreme weather conditions in recent years, Finland expressed its readiness to assist the Philippines in building its capacity in meteorology, particularly in weather forecasting.
The two sides also discussed possible activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 2015.
On May 20, Undersecretary Garcia called on Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomiojia. Foreign Minister Tuomiojia welcomed the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on 27 March 2014 and offered to send a special representative on peace mediation to study how Finland can support the Philippines in the implementation of the CAB and share its expertise in post-conflict governance.
Undersecretary Garcia likewise delivered on May 20 the keynote speech at a roundtable discussion entitled, “The Philippines, ASEAN, and Regional Security,” organized by the Finnish International Affairs Council. He took the opportunity to brief the participants of the positive developments in the Philippines resulting from the Aquino administration’s commitment to good governance and the rule of law. A lively discussion on the changing regional security landscape took place at the roundtable discussion.
Press release courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs, 24 May 2014.