PH, Papua New Guinea ink agri deals

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill met Wednesday for the two countries' signing of an agricultural deal.

THE Philippines and Papua New Guinea on Wednesday signed a “Joint Declaration of Agricultural Cooperation with emphasis on rice production” to ensure that there is food security in both countries.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte bared this after his meeting with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Malacañang where they discuss various topics including defense and security cooperation, trade and investment relations, agriculture cooperation, and people to people exchanges.

“We are pleased to have witnessed the signing of a Joint Declaration of Agricultural Cooperation with emphasis on rice production,” Duterte said in his speech.

“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,” he added.

O’Neill, for his part, expressed appreciation for the communiqué signed between the agriculture ministers of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

He said the joint declaration is meant to advance anew the agriculture relationship between the two countries.

“We need to ensure that there’s food security for both Papua New Guinea and the Philippines,” O’Neill said.

Meanwhile, Duterte expressed enthusiasm to work with O’Neill in both bilateral and regional matters such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Region Forum.

Duterte also congratulated O’Neill and expressed his full support for the Papua New Guinea’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) chairmanship this year.

“The Philippines is positive that under Prime Minister O’Neill’s leadership, APEC will continue to be an important forum for ensuring sustained and inclusive economic growth and development in the region,” Duterte said.

O’Neill said he appreciated Duterte’s confidence and his support in Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the APEC meeting.