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Philippines, Papua New Guinea sign agriculture cooperation

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, received Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Malacañan Palace, where the two leaders witnessed the signing of an agriculture cooperation that would further boost food security in both countries.

He was greeted by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, Philippine Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Bienvenido Tejano, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde.

President Duterte welcomed the delegation from Papua New Guinea and thanked Prime Minister O’Neill for accepting his invitation to visit the Philippines when they met in last year’s APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam.

“In our bilateral meeting, we extensively discussed defense and security cooperation, trade and investment relations, agriculture cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges,” President Duterte said in a joint press statement.

“In the pursuit of greater peace, progress, and prosperity for our peoples, we have realized that we have to do more together to ensure what we want to achieve and the goals reached. There must be translated into actions the sustained projects and tangible results that can be measured,” he added.

Following the extended bilateral meeting, President Duterte and Prime Minister O’Neill witnessed the signing of the Joint Declaration on Agriculture Cooperation between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

The Joint Declaration was signed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Benny Allan, Papua New Guinea Minister for Agriculture and Livestock.

The Joint Declaration signifies the share commitment of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to expand and strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of agriculture and agro-industries, particularly in areas such as rice grains and industrial crops production; aquaculture and inland fish farming; livestock breeding and improvement; and agri-business development.

“We have asked our relevant officials to negotiate and conclude at the soonest possible time an agreement that will bring our bilateral agriculture cooperation to the modern era, one that will truly be transformative and a hallmark of genuine partnership,” Duterte said.

For his part, Prime Minister O’Neill said the agriculture cooperation between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea will help ensure food security for both countries.

“We have agreed also to extend the cooperation in technical and development cooperation between our two countries where we want to see the technical skills and capacity of Filipinos who continue to build the economy to a very vibrant economy in the region so that they can also continue to train our people in our country,” O’Neill added.

“We acknowledge that we need to continue to extend our people-to-people relationship and that is an indication of the growing relationship between our two countries and the freedoms and the lawful activities that we continue to enjoy as citizens of both countries,” he further said.

SOURCE: PHILLIPPINES INFORMATION AGENCY/PACNEWS

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