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Overview of Philippines-Singapore Relations

Overview of Philippines-Singapore Relations

The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Singapore were formally established on 16 May 1969. Singapore is a valued partner of the Philippines and a fellow ASEAN founding member.  

Philippines-Singapore bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength in many key areas including trade and investment, security and defense cooperation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people relations. 

In recent years, there have been several high-level exchanges of visits between the two countries. The most recent was the State Visit of President Halimah Yacob to the Philippines on 08-12 September 2019.  Previous to that, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte went on a State Visit to Singapore on 15-16 December 2016. Former Secretary for Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. also visited Singapore for an Introductory Visit on 7-10 May 2019 and Working Visit on 23-31 January 2022. 

The Philippines’ economic partnership with Singapore continues to grow and expand. Singapore is the country’s 5th largest trading partner in the world, and the largest in ASEAN. In 2021, despite the impact of the pandemic, Philippines-Singapore total trade hit US$ 11.14 billion, an increase of 18.5% from the US $ 9.40 billion registered in 2020. In both 2019 and 2021, Singapore was the single biggest source of foreign investments in the Philippines.

In 2019, Singapore was the Philippines’ top tourist destination within ASEAN. In 2020, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore was second only to Malaysia as the country’s largest source of tourist arrivals within ASEAN, which saw 19,998 Singaporean tourists visiting the country. 

On 29 April 2022, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (PhilChamSG) was registered with the Registry of Societies. The creation of the PhilChamSG is expected to boost trade and investment among the Philippines, Singapore, and ASEAN member states, with the chamber ready to provide information, facilitate connections, and empower joint entrepreneurial success for businesses. 

In 2019, the Philippines and Singapore celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. Twenty-eight (28) projects and events were successfully organized during the year-long celebration. These projects showcased the breadth and depth of the two countries’ bilateral relations spanning the political, economic, environment, academic, people-to-people exchanges, and cultural spheres.

An estimated 200,000 Filipinos live and work in Singapore and actively contribute to the economic development of both the Philippines and Singapore.  Approximately 60% of Filipinos in Singapore are professionals and skilled workers, while the rest are employed as household service workers.

The Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (IC-PSAP) is the primary bilateral mechanism by which the Philippines and Singapore review the implementation of the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan. PSAP was established by former President Fidel V. Ramos and Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1998 as a consolidated framework for strengthened bilateral cooperation in various fields of interest beneficial to both sides. Since its creation, five (5) IC-PSAPs have been convened in Manila and in Singapore to assess developments in bilateral relations and identify ways to further enhance cooperation in various areas.

Significant Bilateral Agreements

Air Transport, 1974
Double Taxation Agreement (DTA), 1977
MOU on the Participation of Singapore Air Force in Cope Thunder Exercise 84-4, 1983
MOU on Singapore Air Force Participation in Cope Thunder Exercise 87-2, 1986
EON on the Stationing of Singapore Air Force Detachment in Clark, 1985
EON on Scheme for Technical Assistance, 1988
MOU on PA-SAF Joint Training Exercise, 1993
MOU on Philippines-Singapore Action Plan, 1998
MOU on Cooperation in Information Technology, 1999
MOU on Air Transport, 2001
MOU on Cultural Cooperation Programme, 2001
Undertaking on the Recognition Certificates Under Regulation 1/10 of STCW, 2001
MOU on Tourism Cooperation, 2001
MOU on Mutual Cooperation on the Deployment of Air Marshals, 2006
MOU on Air Services, 2010
MOU on Exchange of Information relating to White Shipping, 2017
MOU on Innovations and Teaching and Learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with Design Thinking, 2019
MOU on Agricultural Cooperation and Related Activities, 2019
MOU on Cooperation on Human Capital Development and Rescaling and Skills Upgrading of Workforce, 2019
MOU on Knowledge Sharing to Support Infrastructure Development, 2019
MOU between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and Public Utilities Board, 2019
MOU on Cultural Cooperation, 2019
MOU on Assisting Philippine Local Implementing Agencies with the Developmentor Implementation of PPP Projects, 2019
MOU on Cooperation in Personal Data Protection, 2019