PH and Singapore Agree to Hold Regular Defense Consultations

In their bilateral discussions, Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin and Singapore’s Minister of Defense Dr. Ng Eng Hen agreed to conduct regular defense dialogue among their senior officials. This is to promote deeper relations between the DND and Singapore’s Ministry of Defense. As neighbors and fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), both ministers shared the view that closer defense ties would contribute in building an ASEAN security community and in promoting regional stability. Both ministers have regularly attended the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the ADMM-Plus. The ministers tasked their respective defense officials to examine the prospects of forging a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation in subsequent defense dialogues.

Expressing appreciation for Secretary Gazmin’s support for Minister Ng’s proposal, first floated during the US-ASEAN defense dialogue in Hawaii in April, that the International Fusion Center (IFC) based in Singapore be utilized as a disaster-related information center, Minister Ng conveyed that the center could serve as a coordination mechanism to facilitate ASEAN militaries’ response when a disaster strikes an ASEAN country. Secretary Gazmin welcomed the idea and stressed the need to ensure that the IFC evolving into a Regional Humanitarian Coordination Center should complement existing ASEAN mechanisms such as the ASEAN Humanitarian Action (AHA) center.

Both ministers likewise exchanged assessments of the evolving global and regional landscape, specifically the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

Minister Ng was in the Philippines from September 24-26 for an official visit, where he also visited the operations center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). He was received by Secretary Gazmin at the Department of National Defense on September 26.