PH-Malaysia to finalize, sign MOU on health cooperation

MANILA -- The governments of the Philippines and Malaysia are set to finalize and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in the field of health.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad bared this in a speech upon meeting President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his official visit in MalacaAan Palace on Thursday afternoon.

I look forward to the finalization and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government of Malaysia and the government of the Republic of the Philippines on cooperation in the field of health, Mahathir said.

I highlighted that Malaysia has been a favorite healthcare destination for the Philippines. The number of patients from the Philippines seeking treatment in Malaysia has been increasing over the years, he added.

Aside from health, Mahathir said the two countries also discussed progress in the areas of education including the investment of our private sectors, and security matters.

Mahathir said they discussed programs for teachers and students in Madrasahs or Muslim educational institutions, especially in Mindanao.

He said the Malaysian government is committed to help address terrorism and violent extremism through the Trilateral Cooperation Agreement.

Under this framework, Mahathir said Malaysia and the Philippines together with Indonesia have agreed to undertake unilateral maritime and air patrols to tackle the growing security challenges.

Mahatir noted the two countries also discussed trade and investment, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interests, such as the South China Sea and cooperation within ASEAN.

Duterte, for his part, welcomed how the two countries resolved to ramp up cooperation to address security issues, particularly on terrorism, piracy and transnational crimes, including the war on drugs.

We resolved to address security issues. We touched on our extensive economic cooperation. We shared the view that its further expansion serves our mutual interests as that of ASEAN and our region, Duterte said.

As two of Asia's growth engines, intensified two-way trade and investments between the Philippines and Malaysia is needed to sustain progress and prosperity, he added.

Duterte said the two countries also agreed in maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight over the South China Sea, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Mahathir, who arrived Manila on Wednesday night, also made bilateral official visits in 1987 and 1994 during his previous term as Prime Minister.

This is his first visit to the Philippines since he assumed his position as Malaysia's seventh Prime Minister in 2018.

Source: Philippines News Agency