Celebrating 75 years of Canada-Philippines kinship | Inquirer Opinion

Celebrating 75 years of Canada-Philippines kinship

On this auspicious Canada Day, as we mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and the Philippines, we reflect on our two countries’ enduring partnership.

Our journey together was born out of common purpose. Both our countries were founding members of the United Nations and worked together to build institutions and laws that today govern our world. We are long-standing democracies, both having made important contributions to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and definitions of fundamental freedoms that underpin our societies.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1949, Canada and the Philippines have worked side by side to build a stable, secure world. Our cooperation continues today, in our collaborative efforts to uphold a rules-based international order, to promote trade and investment, to reinforce and protect democratic institutions, to combat climate change, and to advocate for human rights.

Our journey continues, enriched by deep people-to-people ties. More than one million people in Canada claim Filipino heritage—a cultural identity that has become an essential component of Canada’s multicultural fabric.


These ties have ensured that the Philippines holds a special place in Canada’s approach to the Indo-Pacific.

Since announcing our Indo-Pacific Strategy in November 2022, our partnership has expanded rapidly:

We have deepened our political dialogue. Over the last two years, our leaders have met three times, and ministers and secretaries have made several visits back and forth between our two countries.

On the international stage, Canada has been a steadfast partner to the Philippines in upholding and defending international law in the South China Sea.


Early this year, our two countries concluded a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation. Since then, our respective armed forces have been participating side by side in exercises and enhancing their interoperability.

We are also working hard to conclude a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement.


We have introduced the electronic travel authorization (ETA) to facilitate travel between our two countries. Since this was launched, more than 175,000 applications have been processed, giving a more convenient platform for eligible Filipinos to visit Canada for business, tourism, education, and to visit family.

Canada chose the Philippines to be the location for its Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-food Office, which officially opened in February—creating new commercial opportunities in the region, including those to strengthen food security.

We are also helping to implement the peace agreement in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, open new opportunities for Philippine farmers, improve disaster resilience, and combat the effects of climate change.

We have also established cooperation in cybersecurity, the battle against malign influence and economic coercion, the use of space technologies and satellite systems, and the fight against illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.

Our partnership is ever more comprehensive in its scope, and strategic in its character, and I am excited by what lies ahead:

Our two governments are currently following up on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invitation for President Marcos to visit Canada later this year—to seize on the momentum in the relationship, articulate our shared ambitions for the future, and set out a path to achieve them.

We are also working to increase prospects for our business communities. There will be a Team Canada Trade Mission to the Philippines in December—bringing hundreds of representatives of Canadian companies and government agencies to build connections to enhance trade and investment for Canadians and Filipinos.

Indeed, the future of our relations is bright and promising. Guided by shared values, we are well positioned to navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world. By seizing the potential in this partnership, we can resolve common challenges and advance our shared goals.

Let us continue to nurture and strengthen the bonds of kinship that unite us. Let us build a future where Canadians and Filipinos stand together, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead.

Together, we can write the next chapter of our enduring kinship—a story of friendship, resilience, and shared achievements that can inspire generations to come.

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David Hartman is Canada’s ambassador to the Philippines.


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