MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday, November 14, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation that would strengthen Philippines – New Zealand ties in the field of education.
The signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation was held during the bilateral meeting between the two leaders following the 31st ASEAN Summit here in Manila.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Philippines Commission on Higher Education on the Comparative Analysis of New Zealand and the Philippines’ Bachelor’s Degrees.
It was signed by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan and New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan.
President Duterte said it is a “good development,” noting that more Filipinos can have access to the quality of education in New Zealand.
During the bilateral meeting, President Duterte mentioned that New Zealand is host to more than 50,000 Filipinos, to which Prime Minister Ardern said that “the Filipino community is a strong community in New Zealand.”
“It’s a strong, buoyant community and well-loved,” she said.
Ardern added that New Zealand had its first Filipino candidate in their party, Romeo Udanga, to be a member of Parliament during the last election.“He did a phenomenal job. He was fantastic,” Ardern said.
President Duterte meanwhile told Prime Minister Ardern that he was able to visit New Zealand twice, and that the people of New Zealand are great people.
“Auckland treats its citizens superbly. No doubt about it. I was there,” Duterte said.
Ardern meanwhile said she was pleased to know that there will soon be a direct flight to New Zealand.
“I was very pleased today that there has been an announcement that Philippine Airlines will be flying direct to New Zealand starting in December which will be a fantastic opportunity,” Ardern said.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Prime Minister said she is looking at bolstering trade relations between New Zealand and the Philippines.
“I’m also looking at the two-way trade that we have, a billion dollars. It’s impressive but [there’s] always more opportunity. But I think we have a strong foundation economically,” she said.