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State visit invitation sa Canada tinanggap ni PBBM – envoy

MANILA, Philippines- Tinanggap ni Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ang imbitasyon ni Prime Minister Justin Trudeau na bumisita sa Canada sa 2024.

Pinag-uusap ng dalawang bansa ang akmang petsa ng nasabing pagbisita ni Pangulong Marcos.

Gayunman, sinabi ni Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines David Hartman na malamang na mangyari ang naturang pagbisita sa “latter part of the calendar year” para ma-accommodate ang available schedule ni Pangulong Marcos.

“We will welcome President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on a state visit to Ottawa and other cities across Canada in the interest of deepening our ties at the very highest level to prioritize our work together and to chart an ambitious way forward,” ayon kay Hartman sa pagpapasinaya ng  Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Ambassadors’ Lecture Series sa Pasay City.

Ipinaabot naman ni Trudeau ang kanyang imbitasyon kay Pangulong Marcos sa sidelines ng 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings sa Jakarta noong nakaraang Setyembre.

Makakasabay naman ng biyahe ng Pangulo ang nakatakdang pagdiriwang ng dalawang bansa sa 75th Canada-Philippine diplomatic relations anniversary sa susunod na taon.

Inaasahan naman ni Hartman na tataas at madaragdagan naman ang kasunduan sa pagitan ng Canada at Pilipinas sa mga susunod na taon.

Tinukoy ang interes ng dalawang bansa para palawigin ang pagtutulungan sa larangan ng “defense, food security, energy, addressing climate change at investment, at iba pa.

“The ambition and commitment I see on both sides to capitalize on the opportunities before us is both clear and it is compelling,”ani Hartman.

Sinabi pa ni Hartman na kumpiyansa siya sa  “shared interests and values” ng dalawang bansa para magkaroon ng “closer relations” na tutugon sa instability na maglalarawan sa 21st century.

“I take tremendous confidence in the temperance, the probity, and the mutual respect that has characterized partnership between our two great countries,” aniya.

“The investments we have made in each other, the trust we have built with each other, and the understanding that we have fostered between our peoples have positioned us well to respond together onto the challenges of our age,” dagdag na wika nito.

Samantala, sinabi ni Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo sa naturang lecture na “the Philippines deeply values Canada’s commitment, both in words and actions, which reinforces the enduring bond between our nations.”

“Canada’s support is evident through a myriad of programs, funding initiatives, and tangible efforts dedicated to upholding the rules-based international order,” anito pa rin sabay sabing, “noteworthy developments, such as the establishment of the ASEAN-Canada Strategic Partnership and Canada’s opening of a visa-processing center in Manila, are paving the way towards a more meaningful and impactful collaboration, “especially in the face of complex challenges confronting the region and our respective countries.”

Samantala, umaasa ang Canada at Pilipinas na mapipirmahan ng mga ito ang memorandum of understanding (MOU) hinggil sa defense cooperation sa Enero 2024.

Isang kasunduan na makapagbubukas sa oportunidad para sa isang visiting forces agreement (VFA).

Inihayag ni Hartman na tinapos na ng dalawang gobyerno ang “final language” ng kasunduan at umaasa na matitintahan ito “very early in the new calendar year.”

“Our minister has talked about, let’s explore next a visiting forces agreement, right? So, once we have this defense MOU under our belts, then that will allow us to open up a whole world of opportunities,” ayon kay Hartman.

Idinagdag pa niya na ang posibleng VFA kasama ang Pilipinas ay maaaring pinakabagong Canada na mayroon sa Asya kapag inilipat na nito ang pagtuon sa Indo-Pacific.

Ang Pilipinas ay mayroong visiting forces agreements sa Estados Unidos at Australia, nagbibigay ng legal framework para sa presensya ng pwersa ng bansa sa iba.

Nauna rito, nagdesisyon naman ang Maynila na simulan ang negosasyon para sa kahalintulad na kasunduan sa Japan, tatawaging Reciprocal Access Agreement.

Naniniwala si Hartman na ang Canada ay magiging “very stalwart partner” ng Pilipinas kapwa sa counterterrorism at territorial defense.

Sinabi pa ni Hartman na, “Canada’s push to bolster its defense cooperation with the country also shows its commitment to the region under its new Indo-Pacific strategy.”

Hindi naman nito isinasara ang pintuan para sa “future joint patrol” kasama ang Pilipinas sa South China Sea.

“We’ve had joint sails so far. Until we have a defense treaty we can’t do joint patrols,” paliwanag nito.

“But one can only imagine, as we deepen and broaden our engagement here, those would be areas of opportunity that we wish to explore,” dagdag na pahayag ni Hartman. Kris Jose

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