The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), in collaboration with the Embassy of the Philippines and the China Pakistan Study Center, convened a seminar today under the theme “Pakistan-Philippines Bilateral Relations in the Changing World.” Distinguished speakers and diplomats gathered to explore opportunities for bolstering collaboration between the two nations across various domains. Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director-General ISSI, welcomed participants and underscored the enduring strength of Pakistan-Philippines relations, emphasizing the need for increased bilateral trade, investment, and economic cooperation. He also highlighted the importance of sustained high-level visits and stronger people-to-people exchanges. Ambassador Maria Agnes M. Cervantes, Ambassador of the Philippines in Islamabad, pointed out the 25 cooperation agreements signed between the two countries, emphasizing the potential for expanded economic cooperation, particularly in Information Technology. Cultural understanding and people-to-people exchanges were stressed as vital elements. Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the Philippines, Ambassador Mohsin Razi, shared insights into the historical ties dating back to 1949. He highlighted mutual support on international forums and the growth of bilateral trade despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chrysl Sicat from the Philippines Embassy discussed economic agreements and called for a more open policy framework on trade and investment, advocating for streamlined people-to-people exchanges. Dr. Jay L. Batongbacal, Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Philippines, focused on security issues in the ASEAN region, advocating for cooperation in maritime affairs for mutual economic development and security. Dr. Amna Mahmood from IIU emphasized the untapped potential of maritime cooperation between Pakistan and the Philippines, highlighting the significance of maritime security for economic growth. Dr. Sameera Imran from NDU explored the potential of bilateral relations in the changing global landscape, advocating for cooperation in research and development between the two countries. Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors, highlighted the long-standing friendship and cooperation, emphasizing increased trade and people-to-people contacts. Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director of the China-Pakistan Study Center, provided introductory remarks, delving into various aspects of the bilateral relationship, emphasizing historical roots, commitment to peace, and the foundation for robust diplomatic ties.
The seminar concluded with a consensus on the need for deeper collaboration in trade, technology transfer, maritime security, and cultural exchanges between Pakistan and the Philippines.