Philippines and Brunei sign agreement on tourism and maritime partnership

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Brunei Darussalam signed deals on tourism, agriculture, and maritime cooperation during the state visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the sultanate on Tuesday.

The two Southeast Asian countries signed memoranda of agreement on tourism cooperation, mutual recognition of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for (STCW) certificates, and maritime cooperation.

The memorandum on agreement (MOU) on tourism cooperation aims to boost tourist arrivals between the Philippines and Brunei and support niche tourism development, particularly Islamic tourism and promotion of Muslim-friendly destinations.

An MOU on STCW certificates allows the two countries to recognize each other’s national certificates. An STCW certification ensures that seafarers are trained and competent to perform their duties and responsibilities at sea.

An MOU on maritime cooperation, meanwhile, covers pollution control, skills training, research, and information sharing between the Philippines and Brunei.

The two countries also inked a letter of intent to renew a memorandum of understanding on food security and agricultural cooperation.

In a bilateral meeting with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Marcos expressed hope to expand the existing partnerships with Brunei, saying that there is “much potential” to explore.

“I think the MOUs that are being signed today that we shall witness, Your Majesty, will be a very good start to once again re-energize, and I think the areas that we have talked about—that we have paid attention to for these MOUs are certainly rich with potential,” Marcos said.

His state visit to Brunei marked Marcos’ eighth foreign trip this year. Since taking office in 2022, this is his 26th international trip.

On Thursday, the president is set to fly to Singapore to deliver the keynote address at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue 2024, happening from May 30 to 31.

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