Philippines, Australia boost collab in maritime security, cyber technology


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Australia on Thursday signed agreements to strengthen their civil and defense maritime commitments, and cooperation on cyber technology. 

Manila and Canberra signed a memorandum of understanding on enhanced maritime cooperation aimed at boosting collaboration in civil maritime security, marine environment protection and maritime domain awareness, as well as upholding international law. 

"Defense and security remains a key area of cooperation between the Philippines and Australia. We look forward to amplifying our joint activities and the capacity building efforts in this regard," President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said during a joint statement with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. 

Marcos earlier told Australia's Parliament that the Philippines was on the "frontline" of a battle for regional peace, pledging resolve as he sought support in maritime disputes with China. 

The Philippines and Australia also inked deals to strengthen the two countries' cooperation on cyber and critical technology, and collaboration on competition law and policy. 

Albanese also announced a $20-million investment to support the Philippines in reforming and improving access to its justice system. 

In September 2023, Manila and Canberra upgraded their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership amid rising security challenges in the region. 

"We are ambitious for what we can achieve together and I'm pleased that we are working actively to build a peaceful region where international law is respected and waterways are open for trade," Albanese said. 

The South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by the Philippines, holds strategic importance as a key transport route for fuel, food, and other goods.

Marcos will return to Australia next week for the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit in Melbourne. 

His trips to Australia mark Marcos' third and fourth international travels this year, following his attendance at a royal wedding in Brunei and state visit to Vietnam. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Agence France Presse

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