Taguig, 19 May 2022 – Senior Philippine Government officials were among the guests at the celebration of Philippines-Australia Friendship Day hosted by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO. In attendance were Former President Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Delia D. Albert, Bangko Sentral Governor Benjamin Diokno, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Ambassador Robinson, National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr., DFA Assistant Secretary Nathaniel Imperial, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Andres Centino.
Ambassador Robinson said, “We are celebrating the depth of the friendship and partnership between Australia and the Philippines which has stood firm throughout good times and bad – including especially the events of the past year. I am confident the Australian tradition of mateship, which admirably aligns with the Philippine spirit of bayanihan, will continue to form the bedrock of the mutual support we provide to each other.”
The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships. Australia’s first Consulate-General in Manila was established on 22 May 1946, and the date is now celebrated as Philippines-Australia Friendship Day. “We are very pleased to be one of only five countries with an annual friendship day celebration, in our case on 22 May as set out in Presidential Proclamation 1282. This is an opportunity to celebrate our strong links each year,” said the Ambassador.
Australia and the Philippines cooperate closely across a range of areas, including defence, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, education and development. Australia is the third largest source of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines, with AUD 84 million (PHP 3.15 billion) in 2020-2021 strategically deployed to support the Philippine’s COVID-19 response and recovery plans.