Poland wants to enhance its defense cooperation with the Philippines and explore how the European country can contribute to the strengthening of the country’s food security, its envoy told President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday.
Meanwhile, India’s government expects that its cordial relationship with the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte will continue under the administration of Marcos Jr.
The Philippines is among the participants at the Asean-India media exchange program in New Delhi on June 14 to 20 and the Special Asean-India Foreign Ministers’ meeting and the 12th Delhi Dialogue on June 16 and 17.
Poland Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz said he discussed with Marcos food security and enhanced defense cooperation with his country.
“Mostly, we arrived at the questions of food security in the Philippines and the contribution of Poland to assure food security, especially in the meat sector,” Szczepankiewicz told reporters, after his courtesy visit to Marcos at the BBM headquarters in MandaluyongCity.
According to Szczepankiewicz, they also discussed the possible extension of cooperation in the defense sector between the two countries, saying Poland manufactures Black Hawk helicopters for the Philippine Air Force.
Marcos also took note of the importance of digitalization in the Philippines during the discussion, with Szczepankiewicz mentioning that Poland was the first digitalized administration in the European Union.
“Opportunities for the development of cultural and scientific cooperation and mainly in terms of the Polish scholarship for Filipino students. So, we hope that some decisions will be taken soon and very quickly, and the President knows about some problems,” Szczepankiewicz said.
“Some of them were new to him, but he promised to clarify some issues and he expressed the feeling that we could do more. I would say that there are a lot of untapped opportunities,” the Polish diplomat said.
According to the envoy, Marcos made “very important commitments” during their discussion.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict was also brought up during the meeting in light of its economic impact on the world.
“I informed him that around or more than 70 Filipinos crossed the Polish border from Ukraine [since] the beginning of the conflict and that we are working hard to assure the export of Ukrainian wheat that it’s creating a big problem in terms of the increase of the prices of bread and some commodities,” he said.
Apart from Szczepankiewicz, Marcos also met with Ambassador of Bangladesh Borhan Uddin.
Meanwhile, India Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran said such activities are crucial to the promotion of mutual economic interests of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries.
“To promote understanding of politics, economics, and culture in each other. It is important for the larger public in both India and Asean to understand what the government is doing,” he said in a recent exclusive interview with state-run People’s Television Network.
Kumaran said India and the Philippines have a good relationship under the Duterte administration in terms of defense, health, and economic trade initiatives.
In his recent courtesy call on Marcos, Kumaran said they had a “substantive discussion”.
“I was very heartened by the strong commitment to further develop the relationship between India and the Philippines and I, of course, was glad to hand out the letter of felicitation from the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) to him. And I also conveyed India’s deep interest in building further diverse and dynamic relationships with the Philippines,” he said in a previous interview.
India’s borders have been open to tourists since March 27.
Domestic and international traffic at airports have since reached 93 percent of pre-coronavirus levels while applications for tourist visa and travel on a commercial flight are now allowed.
As of June 8, masks are still required during flights. Violators could be treated as unruly passengers, removed from the flight, and placed on the “no fly” list.
Kumaran said travelers do not need to worry about their safety as their COVID-19 pandemic situation is now “very much under control” and “stable”.
“There are no restrictions in terms of travel to India. We are welcoming tourists. We have been welcoming tourists for a few months already, and we do hope the Filipinos will use this opportunity to travel across to India and explore its diverse culture, its cuisine, and wonderful shopping opportunities that await,” Kumaran said.