The Colombian government is interested in supplying the Philippines with pork and beef products and has sought assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte to facilitate the trade process.
Colombian Ambassador to the Philippines Marcela Ordoñez Fernandez made the request on Tuesdayafter she presented her credentials to the chief executive. It also comes amid the surging meat prices in Philippine markets.
“We are interested in selling pork meat and beef to the Philippines and we would welcome, Mr. President, any support you can give us to accelerate the admissibility process,” the envoy said.
She said Colombia is also keen to increase foreign investment between the two nations.
“We also want to see an increase in foreign investment both ways as both your economy and my economy have a lot of potentials. And we want more tourism. More and more Colombians are visiting the Philippines and we believe that Colombia has everything that the Filipinos love,” she said.
Aside from commerce and economic cooperation, Fernandez said Colombia could also share its reintegration program with the Philippines.
“Allow me just to suggest our program in reintegration – reintegration for former combatants that now is a four-stage program and it goes from institutional strengthening, the route to reintegration, community approach and monitoring and evaluation,” she said.
Both countries already exchanged talks and best practices on reintegration, but Fernandez believes that the Philippines and Colombia could further develop this area of cooperation.
Colombia also sought more engagement with Manila in the area of education.
“[A]llow me to say that we are very interested in learning from the Philippines. My President, President (Iván) Duque, is very interested in other breakthroughs that the Philippines has had in education. So we want the best practices of the Philippines in education,” she said.
Duterte, meanwhile, said Manila is ready to develop ties with the South American nation on trade and investment, defense, and in addressing non-traditional security issues, including terrorism and violent extremism, drug trafficking, and other transnational crimes.
“We are also interested in cooperating on taking the peace process further, given Colombia’s experience. Together, in solidarity and cooperation, we will continue to build upon the gains of our longstanding friendship,” he said.