Philippines, Colombia discuss common problems in bilateral talks
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos discussed insurgency and the illegal drug trade problems during his bilateral talks with President Aquino yesterday, noting that these issues are also prevalent in the Philippines.

Santos arrived in Manila Monday afternoon to take part in alliance dialogues during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting here in Manila from today until tomorrow.

Colombia has been invited as a guest country at the high-level economic forum and will attend the Pacific Alliance dialogue together with Latin American APEC members Chile, Peru and Mexico. 

“The two leaders noted their countries’ common concerns on combating illegal drug trade and drug abuse,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., who was among the Cabinet members present in the meeting, narrated. “President Santos offered Colombia’s knowledge and experience in anti-insurgency and anti-illegal drugs campaign, citing decades-long fight on these two fronts.”

The Palace spokesman noted that just like Colombia, the Philippines “is taking steps to improve people’s quality of life by bringing social opportunities to them, channeling their energies to legitimate sources of income.”   

“President Aquino shared the Philippines’ experiences on programs such as 4Ps, CCT, PhilHealth universal healthcare to address poverty issues that previously bred insurgency, noting common challenges faced by both countries,” Coloma said. 

4Ps stand for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program while CCT is the conditional cash transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the poorest of the poor. The programs allow regular dole-outs as incentives for families who send their children to school.

For his part, the Colombian leader told Aquino they are “looking up to Philippines as a vital resource in adapting/mitigating the effects of climate change” following Aquino’s promise to “share” best practices in building back better and establishing resilient communities.

Bachelet urges Filipinas to join military, police

Meanwhile, Chile’s first female president Michelle Bachelet urged Filipino women to join the police and military forces to promote gender equality and women empowerment.

Bachelet, who is in the country for the APEC summit, yesterday had a dialogue with youth and women at the Miriam College in Quezon City where she stressed the importance of women in security agencies, saying they are “very committed and hard-working.” 

“In my experience in the Air Force Academy, women had the best experience. They were great detectives. Not just good, but great. When I was defense minister, I realized some groups didn’t have women. I pushed so women will be part of institution, to be generals,” Bachelet, former head of UN Women and  former defense minister in Chile, said.

“Women peacekeepers gain the confidence, trust of women victims in conflict-torn areas. They encourage women to be part of the military,” she added.    – With Robertzon Ramirez

ACIRC AIR FORCE ACADEMY AQUINO ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BACHELET COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT LATIN AMERICAN NBSP PRESIDENT AQUINO WOMEN
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