04 October 2021 – Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap guested at CNA (Channel News Asia) 983 Money Mind, a radio show hosted by Chew Wui Lynn and Stanley Leong on 29 September 2021.
Given the close bilateral, cultural, economic, and trade relations shared between the Philippines and Singapore, Ambassador Yap was invited to a live interview as part of a weekly series on CNA’s radio program featuring different ambassadors or high commissioners each week. It was also an opportunity for the listeners to know the diplomats outside their official duties.
The interviewers began by asking Ambassador Yap what he felt were his major accomplishments in the last three and a half years of his assignment. Ambassador Yap enumerated the three major groups of accomplishments of the Embassy under his tenure. First was the ASEAN-related activities during Singapore’s chairmanship in 2018 wherein the Ambassador had undergone, what he jokingly referred to as his “baptism of fire,” following two presidential and other numerous ministerial visits to Singapore. The second was the commemoration of the golden jubilee of the establishment of Philippines-Singapore diplomatic relations in 2019, wherein a total of twenty-seven activities were undertaken, highlighted by the state visit of President Halimah Yacob to the Philippines. The third was the improved services of the Embassy, including the reduction of appointment waiting time for passport renewals from several months to just one week, provided non-cash payments for consular services, and shuttle service for clients between the Embassy and the nearest MRT station.
Ambassador Yap further shared that he had a smooth transition from businessman to the Philippines’ top envoy to Singapore. Aside from being a leading financial, business, and trading hub, Singapore is the Philippines’ major trading partner in ASEAN with over USD 10billion worth of annual trade. Among his various economic diplomacy initiatives, Ambassador Yap cited the inaugural Philippine-Singapore Business and Investment Summit held in 2019. It was attended by six Philippine cabinet secretaries, who talked about the Philippine economy and investment opportunities in front of an audience of two hundred and fifty businessmen in Singapore. The second summit in March this year, albeit virtual, was well-received as well, with three hundred participants from different business sectors in both countries.
Aside from discussing opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation in new areas of growth such as the digital economy and the environment in the post-COVID-19 world new normal, Ambassador Yap also candidly shared his favorite seafood and Chinese restaurants in Singapore. – END