Philippines, Nigeria share mutually beneficial relations – Envoy

Mr Mersole Mellejor, the Philippines Ambassador to Nigeria said both countries shared mutually beneficial relations, especially in trade and people-to-people partnerships since 1962.

The envoy said this at the Diplomatic Reception held to mark the 126th Anniversary of the Philippines’ Independence on Wednesday in Abuja.

The ambassador said the occasion was symbolic of strengthening relations between Nigeria and the Philippines for more than six decades.

According to him, although the countries may be located on two different continents, with no fewer than 18 hours of flight time between them, relations between the two have been robust.

‘Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1962, the two countries have signed bilateral agreements and are in the process of concluding more, to generate concrete mutually beneficial outcomes.

‘At the political level, the Philippines and Nigeria have a regular Joint Commission Meeting between our respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

‘This year, we are resuming t
o hold another edition. The joint commission meeting was suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

‘We have a respectable level of bilateral trade reaching more than a million US dollars at its highest in 2020 and a steady flow of tourists from both sides.

‘The most concrete manifestation of our relations has always been our people. At its peak before the global financial crisis in 2009, there were an estimated 8,000 Filipinos in Nigeria.’

‘Mostly professionals in various capacities, in the oil and industrial states, factories in many parts of Nigeria, and more importantly, in the services sectors.

‘Now, estimated to be around 3,000, the number is rising again as we emerge from the global pandemic. We certainly thank Nigeria for welcoming and hosting our nationals,” Mellejor said

Speaking on educational exchange, Mellejor said the Philippines had hosted more than 10,000 Nigerians studying in various higher institutions in his country.

On governance, he said, ‘There are many areas in which both countr
ies can work continually to strengthen democratic governance and law enforcement.

‘Meanwhile, the Philippines hosts some 10,000 Nigerians, the majority of whom are studying in various tertiary institutions in the country.

‘I was told that the number was even higher in the 90’s. The graduates even have an association here in Nigeria called the Philippine Graduates in Nigeria, or PHILGRAN.

‘There is also a good number of Nigerians pursuing productive careers in the Philippines – perhaps in the medical and the entertainment industry,” he said.

The ambassador also seeks Nigeria’s support for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the 2027-2028 June elections of 2026 expected to be held in New York.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highpoint of the event was the cultural dance performance by a Filipino group and a song from a Nigerian artist.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria