Philippines, Sri Lanka begin political consultation

The first ever Philippines-Sri Lanka Political Consultations were successfully concluded in Colombo, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday. The meeting, co-chaired by DFA Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo and Hon. B.G. Ranjith Uyangoda, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, discussed ways to deepen and broaden Philippines-Sri Lanka bilateral relations in the areas of trade and investment, defense, tourism, labor migration, agriculture, mutual legal assistance, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

New areas of cooperation explored during the consultations include trainings for workers in the tourism and hospitality sector, seafarers, nurses, and teachers, among others.

Developments in the Southeast Asia and South Asian regions were also discussed, including the Philippine ASEAN Chairmanship and the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN.

Undersecretary Manalo and Hon. Dewagirige Swarnapala, of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka, capped the 1st Philippines-Sri Lanka Political Consultations with the signing of the Executive Programme on Cultural Cooperation between the Philippines and Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the Consultations.

The Executive Programme is an implementing arrangement of the Philippines-Sri Lanka Cultural Agreement, which was signed on November 11, 1976.

Manalo met with the Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, Hon. John A.E. Amaratunga, MP, and the Minister for Foreign Employment, Hon. Thalata Atukorale, MP.

The members of the Philippine delegation included Philippine Non-Resident Ambassador to Sri Lanka Vicente Vivencio T. Bandillo and DFA Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Millicent Cruz-Paredes.