Last night I was pleased to speak with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, ahead of Philippines-Australia Friendship Day today.
We discussed our respective domestic responses to COVID-19 and reaffirmed our longstanding defence cooperation.
We reaffirmed our long-term commitment to work together as friends and comprehensive partners in addressing challenges posed by COVID-19, and advancing regional security and stability.
I was pleased to confirm that Australia will support the expansion of the infectious disease ward of the Victoriano Luna Medical Center in Manila under our mutually agreed Australia-Philippines Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.
The expansion will help the Armed Forces of the Philippines deal with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
We discussed continued cooperation to build counter-terrorism capacity in the Philippines, as well as future opportunities for defence industry cooperation.
I also acknowledged the support provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the Australian Embassy in Manila in repatriating Australians following COVID-19-related travel restrictions in the Philippines.