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Foreign relations of the Philippines

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Foreign relations of the Philippines

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Philippines

Foreign relations of the Philippines are administered by the President of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Philippine international affairs are influenced by ties to Southeast Asian neighbors, United States, and the Middle East.

The Philippines is a founding member of the Interpol. The Philippines is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, East Asia Summit, and the Latin Union. It was formerly a member of the now-defunct SEATO. Declaring itself as independent of any major power block of nations, the Philippines is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Economically, the Philippines is a participant in the World Trade Organization (WTO).


  • Foreign policy 1
  • Relations with specific countries and regions 2
    • Asia 2.1
    • Africa 2.2
    • Americas 2.3
    • Europe 2.4
    • Oceania 2.5
  • Relations with former states 3
  • Multilateral relations 4
  • Issues 5
    • International disputes 5.1
      • Sabah 5.1.1
        • Sulawesi Sea Islands
      • Macclesfield Bank 5.1.2
      • Scarborough Shoal 5.1.3
      • Spratly Islands 5.1.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Foreign policy

The Philippines (in red) has embassies in various nations (in blue).

Philippine foreign policy is based on the advancement of Filipino ideals and values, which include the advancement of democracy and advocacy for human rights worldwide.

The nation is currently actively engaging with regional neighbors in Southeast Asia through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (as a founding member) with the intention of strengthening regional harmony, stability, and prosperity. It has been a supporter of East Timor since the latter's independence and has expanded trade links with its traditional allies Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Relations with Vietnam and Cambodia have thawed in the 1990s after their entry into the ASEAN.

Ties to the United States have affected Filipino international relations. The Republic of the Philippines considers itself a staunch ally of the United States and has supported many points of American foreign policy. This is evident in the Philippines' participation in the Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered the first.

With a robust relationship to the United States, the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sought to establish closer ties to its earlier colonizer, Spain. This was inspired by the attendance of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía at the June 12, 1998 celebration honoring the centennial of the Philippines' independence from Spain. President Macapagal-Arroyo made two official visits to Spain during her presidency.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has been a participant in various regional conflicts, including the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Recently, the Philippines sent peacekeeping forces to Iraq, in addition to civilian doctors, nurses and police. However, the Filipino mission was later recalled as collateral for the release of a Filipino hostage. As part of a UN Peacekeeping Operation, Philippine Army General Jaime de los Santos became the first commander of troops responsible for maintaining order in East Timor.

The Philippines is in tension with rival international claimants to various land and water territories in the South China Sea. The Philippines is currently in dispute with the People's Republic of China over the Camago and Malampaya gas fields. The two countries are also in dispute over the Scarborough Shoal. Additionally, the Philippines has a disputed claim over the Spratly Islands.

Relations with other Asian nations have been strong. Japan, which has been an active donor of aid, has close ties with the country. Relations with China have recently been expanded, especially with regards to the economy. The presence of a large South Korean expatriate community has led to the expansion of relations between the two nations. India has also been an important partner, as have countries outside of Asia such as Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia.

In recent years, the Philippines has been distancing itself from the West due to its active role in the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77. This trend is reflected in its recent positions on Kosovo, Iran and Israel.

Relations with specific countries and regions


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Armenia 1992-05-20[3]
  • The Philippines and Armenia established bilateral relations in 1992.
  • Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan visited the Philippines in 2012, the highest government official of Armenia to ever visit the Philippines.
  • Armenia has a consulate in Manila.
  • Philipinnes has a consulate in Yerevan.
 Azerbaijan 1992-03-27[3]

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received the credentials of incoming ambassador of the Philippines Marilyn Jusayan Alarilla. During a meeting following the ceremony, the ambassador conveyed greetings of the Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to the Azerbaijani leader. She noted the Philippines was interested in developing the cooperation with Azerbaijan in different areas, including energy, science and technologies. President Ilham Aliyev said there was good potential for developing Azerbaijan–Philippines relations in many fields, particularly economic one.

 Bangladesh 1972-02-24

Bangladesh and the Philippines have had a very close and friendly relations since the birth of Bangladesh. The Philippines supported the liberation of Bangladesh and recognized it on February 24, 1972. The Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations spoke in favor of the nation during its liberation struggle and also during Bangladesh’s admission to the United Nations in 1974.

 Brunei 1984-01-01

In April 2009, The Philippines and halal industry.[6]

 Burma 1956-09-29

The Philippines and Burma established diplomatic relations on September 29, 1956, followed by the opening of the Philippine Embassy in Yangon (then Rangoon) in 1958. The Myanmar Embassy in Manila, on the other hand, was opened in 1967. The Philippines was one of the Asian countries most critical of Burma’s military junta prior to its moves toward democracy in 2011. Burma is poised to reap real trade benefits from neighboring countries following its opening up process, now with the Philippines where a bilateral trade meeting to strengthen economic ties.[7]

 Cambodia 1957

The Philippines and Cambodia were formally established there diplomatic relations in 1957. The two countries have an agreements on economic and trade relations, agricultural and agribusiness collaboration, and tourism cooperation. Both countries have maintained cordial ties since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1995 and the re-opening of the Cambodian Embassy in Manila in 1999.

 China 1975-06-09

The Philippines and China established diplomatic relations on June 9, 1975 with the signing of the Joint Communiqué by leaders of the two countries. Since then bilateral relations between the two countries have developed steadily despite some difficulties. Both countries have maintained high level contacts and exchanges.

Several major bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries over the years, such as: Joint Trade Agreement (1975); Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement (1978); Postal Agreement (1978); Air Services Agreement (1979); Visiting Forces Agreement (1999); Cultural Agreement (1979); Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (1992); Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation (1999); Tax Agreement (1999); and Treaty on Mutual Judicial Assistance on Criminal Matters (2000). In May 2000, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, the two countries signed a Joint Statement defining the framework of bilateral relations in the 21st century.

Bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have significantly progressed in recent years. The growing bilateral relations were highlighted by the state visit to China of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 29–31 October 2001. During the visit, President Arroyo held bilateral talks with top Chinese leaders, namely President Jiang Zemin, NPC Chairman Li Peng, and Premier Zhu Rongji. President Arroyo also attended the 9th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting held in Shanghai on October 20–21, 2001, where she also had bilateral talks with President Jiang. During President Arroyo's visit, eight important bilateral agreements were signed.

 East Timor 2002-05-20[8]

The Philippines was actively involved in the United Nations peacekeeping forces in East Timor during its move towards independence. When several nations recognized East Timor's sovereignty, the Philippines began official diplomatic relations between the two governments with the establishment of an embassy in Dili.

The Philippines has pledged increased commerce and trade with East Timor and has also sought to cultivate cultural and educational exchanges. The two nations share a legacy in Asia as being the region's only states with Roman Catholic and other Christian majority populations.

Ever since East Timor's independence, the Philippine military has also supported the Military of East Timor by deploying a number of soldiers to assist in peacekeeping missions and training for the soldiers of the East Timorese army.

 Georgia 1992-09-21[3]
 India 1949-11-16
  • History

Indian elements in Philippine culture point to early relations between the two societies. However, some works posit that the influx of Indian cultural elements into the Philippines is understood only in terms of the developments in the intervening regions between these two areas, the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian Archipelago, where there was an intensified process of Indianization from the 2nd through the late 14th centuries A.D.

Indian influences would have reached the Philippines from the 10th through the early 14th centuries, based on the events in these two regions, and not necessarily through direct migration from the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines. Artifacts of Indian orientation have been found in some islands of the Philippines but are not very extensive. The golden image of the female Bodhisattva which was found in Agusan, was related to the development of Buddhism in Southeast Asia dating back to the late 13th and 14th centuries. The introduction of Sanskrit words and literature may be dated to the 10th and 12th centuries. Until now, Sanskrit words are still found in abundance in various Philippine languages. Then there is the folk narrative among the Maranao, known as Maharadia Lawana which shows an Indian character and whose story is very similar to the Indian epic Ramayana.

During the period 1762–1764, during the various Anglo-Spanish wars, 600 Sepoy (or native Indian) troops arrived in the Philippines as part of the military expedition of the East India Company. When the British troops withdrew, many of the Sepoys mutinied and refused to leave. They settled in what is now Cainta, Rizal. The region in and around Cainta still has many Sepoy descendants.

During the 18th century, there was robust trade between Manila and the Coromandel Coast of Bengal, involving Philippine exports of tobacco, silk, cotton, indigo, sugar cane and coffee.

  • Established

The Philippines established diplomatic relations with India on 16 November 1949. The first Philippine envoy to India was the late Foreign Secretary Narciso Ramos.

Seven years after India's independence in 1947, the Philippines and India signed a Treaty of Friendship on 11 July 1952 in Manila to strengthen the friendly relations existing between the two countries. Soon after, the Philippine Legation in New Delhi was established and then elevated to an Embassy. However, due to foreign policy differences as a result of the bipolar alliance structure of the Cold War, the development of bilateral relations was stunted. It was only in 1976 that relations started to normalize when Mr. Aditya Birla, one of India's successful industrialists, met with then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to explore possibilities of setting up joint ventures in the Philippines. This resulted in the establishment of Indo-Philippine Textile Mills, Inc. (Indo-Phil), then the largest Indian investment in the country. Indo-Phil currently employs 2,000 Filipino workers and supplies 40% of Philippine domestic demand for yarn. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Philippines–India diplomatic relations, and pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1924, the month of November 2009 was proclaimed as Philippines–India Friendship Month by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Policy Consultation Talks between the two countries was established in 2000. The talks, which are held annually and conducted by the foreign offices of the two countries on the level of senior officials, aimed at discussing bilateral issues and regional and international issues of common concern.

The first RP–India Security Dialogue was held in Manila on 12 March 2004. The Philippines and India agreed to establish a security dialogue that would serve as a policy forum for sharing security assessments and for reviewing and giving direction to cooperation in bilateral/regional security and defense matters.

Both countries also signed a Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism to complement the ASEAN-India Joint Declaration to Combat International Terrorism which was adopted by the Heads of Government and States of ASEAN and India on 8 October 2003 in Bali, Indonesia. The declaration seeks to enhance intelligence and information sharing on counter-terrorism measures, strengthen capacity-building efforts through training and education, capability and readiness, including training and technical assistance; and to continue working together in the fight against the cyber crime and terrorist misuse of cyber space. The Trade Agreement between the Philippines and India was signed on 29 May 1979. In 1995, following the first Philippine Trade Mission to India, a Joint Working Group and a Joint Business Council were set up to assess and identify potentials for trade as well as identify new areas for collaboration. Since then, bilateral meetings have been held regularly.

The agreement to establish a Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation was signed during the State Visit to India of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 5 October 2007. The establishment of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation aims to further strengthen and develop the cooperation in the field of trade, economic, scientific, technological and other fields of cooperation. The meeting of the Joint Commission will be co-chaired by the two countries’ Ministers for Foreign Affairs who will meet once every two years. The inaugural session of the Joint Commission was held on 15 March 2011, co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario, and was held in New Delhi. During the meeting both sides agreed to move forward on cooperative initiatives in various fronts (trade, agriculture, defense).

 Indonesia 1951-06-21

Indonesia and the Philippines established bilateral and diplomatic relations on June 21, 1951. The Indonesian Government has opened its Consular office in Manila but it was not until the mid-1950s that an Embassy was established headed by an Ambassador. A treaty of friendship was signed in 1951. This Treaty constituted the basic relationship of both countries, covering several aspects such as maintenance of peace and friendship, settlement of disputes by diplomatic and peaceful means, traffic arrangements for citizens of both countries and activities to promote cooperation in the area of trade and cultural, which include the political, social-economic and security matters of both countries.

 Iran 1964-02

Ambassador Aladin G. Villacorte presented his Letters of Credence to H.R. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran at ceremonies held at the Presidential Palace in Tehran on September 10, 2007. In a brief statement, Ambassador Villacorte expressed his warm felicitations on behalf of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Filipino people, underscoring the Philippine commitment to see full range of our relations to grow and mature, particularly in the fields of trade and investment, tourism and culture. Ambassador Villacorte also emphasized that both Philippines and Iran have collaborate on issue of global concern. “Indeed we have made significant contributions to the promotion of the better understanding among nations through interfaith dialogue and cooperation."

There is also a population of thousands of Iranians living in the Philippines, mostly in Metro Manila.[9]

 Iraq 1975-01-12

Relations between Iraq and the Philippines was established after Iraq opened its embassy in the Philippines on January 12, 1975 and the Philippines started its mission on September 19, 1980. The Philippine transferred its embassy from Baghdad to the Jordan's capital Amman after 2003 and Iraq closed its embassy, but diplomatic relations remains unaltered. The Iraqi embassy in Manila reopened on November 22, 2006 and the Philippine embassy in Iraq resumed operations by the end of November 2011.[10] In 2013, the Philippine government partially lifted a ban on deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers to Iraq, since the Angelo de la Cruz kidnapping situation in 2004. As of 2013, the only exception in deployment were would-be domestic helpers and OFW deploying in the provinces of Anbar, Ninewah, Nineveh, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin.[11] On June 19, 2014, thee Philippine government ordered its nationals in Iraaq to leave the country.[12]

 Israel 1958-02-26

The Philippines was the only Asian nation to vote on the United Nations partition resolution on November 29, 1947; voting in favor. The partition resolution was passed 33 to 13 with 10 abstentions, and created the country of Israel in the former British Mandate of Palestine.[13] Full diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Israel did not occur until 1958. The Philippine Embassy opened in Tel Aviv in 1962; the Israeli embassy opened in Manila in the same year. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two countries in 1997, further cementing bilateral political dialogue between the foreign ministries. There are approximately 60,000 Filipino workers, in Israel.[14]

 Japan 1943-10-14

Relations between the Philippines and Japan have rapidly improved since the end of World War II. Modern relations between the Philippines and Japan are very close and Japan is a key trading, economic and possibly military ally of the Philippines. Japan has also assisted the Philippines in building tunnels, bridges and highways (motorway) in Metro Manila, and is a main source of rail equipment and advisor for rail transport development. In 2005/2006 Japan dropped an US$8 billion debt with the Philippines and after the Leyte Mud slide Japan deployed soldiers to Leyte to assist Filipino and foreign workers. There are thousands of Japanese nationals/citizens (civilians) living in the Philippines (see Ethnic groups in the Philippines for details). Japanese business people have opened a large number of businesses in the Philippines offering jobs to Filipino workers.

 Kazakhstan 1992-03-19[3]

Diplomatic relations between the Kazakhstan and the Philippines were formally established on March 19, 1992. The Philippines maintains relations with Kazakhstan through its embassy in Moscow in Russia. Kazakhstan has an honorary consulate in Manila.[15][16]

Trade between Kazakhstan and the Philippines amounted to 7.3 million during January to November 2010. In 2009, about 1,500 Kazakh tourists visited the Philippines. As of 2009, there are about 7,000 Overseas Filipino Workers are working in Western Kazakhstan, mostly in the oil and gas sector. Kazakhstan is attracting Philippine companies to invest in the country.[17]

On 2011, Kazakhstan is planning to put up a Kazakhstan house in the Philippines either in the Bonifacio Global City or Makati to showcase Kazakh products and promote its tourist destinations. There is also plans to put up a Philippine House in Kazakhstan for the same purpose and there is also plans to put Filipino art exhibits in Kazakhstan[18]

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and his 27 delegates arrived in the Philippines for a three day state visit on November 10, 2003 at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. The Kazakh officials met with their Filipino counterparts and conducted meetings. Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met with Nazarbayev to finalize the Philippine's intent to import oil and coal from Kazakhstan and discussed possible infrastructure projects in the Central Asian country.[15]

The Philippines also supported Kazakhstan bid to become a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum on security.[17]

 Kyrgyzstan 1992-04-24[3]
 Laos 1955-01-14

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario met Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith met in a two-day talk from April 6–7, 2011 thus further boosting the almost 55 years of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Laos which was commemorated last 2010.

The talks involved the convening the Joint Bilateral Commission between the two countries, the establishment of the Philippines–Laos Business Council, cultural exchange, Overseas Filipinos in Laos and cooperation within the ASEAN and other regional and international organizations.

Philippine Business Mission to Vientiane was also conducted in July 2010 which was fully supported by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and encouraged Philippine businesses to invest and set operations in Laos. A second business mission to Vientiane was also discussed in the talks.[19]

On May 2012, The Philippines and Laos signed four agreements to improve bilateral relations.[20]

 Malaysia 1959

Philippines has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Manila. The people of the two neighboring countries speak both Austronesian languages, and have a long history of close economic and political relations. They are both founding members of ASEAN, and are important trading partners. The two countries have participated in joint conservation measures in the Sulu Sea, which lies between the two countries. Malaysia has assisted in peacekeeping efforts in the Muslim insurgency in Mindanao. The countries are both involved in ongoing disputes over ownership of the Spratly Islands and the Philippines has a claim over the Sabah state in northern Borneo though this is currently not being actively pursued.[19]

 Mongolia 1973-10-10

The Philippines and Mongolia established diplomatic relations in October 10, 1973. There are 261 registered Filipinos in Mongolia according to figures from the Mongolian Immigration Agency as of July 2011. Most of the Filipinos in Mongolia are engineers, miners, teachers, missionaries and social service volunteers. The Philippines established an honorary consulate in Ulan Bator on July 21, 2011.

   Nepal 1960-02-12

The Philippines and Nepal established diplomatic relations on February 12, 1960. Both countries are members of the Non-Aligned Movement. There are about 300 Filipinos living in Nepal, who were either missionaries, professionals, skilled workers, volunteers or spouses of Nepalese or other nationals as of March 2011. Approximately 500 Nepalese students are studying in the Philippines for their higher-level education.[21][22]

 North Korea 2000-07-12[23]

Despite the fact that the Philippines sided with North Korea's belligerent, South Korea in the Korean War, The two countries finally established diplomatic relations in 2000 after more than 20 years of negotiations, although trade between the two countries is almost non-existent, as they both still have a trade embargo.

In 2007, the agreement was boosted further and was signed by Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun during the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila.[24]

Philippines has a representation in Pyongyang, thru embassy in Beijing; and North Korea has a representation thru its embassy in Bangkok.

 Oman 1980-10-06
 Pakistan 1949-09

The official visit by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to the Philippines on April 18, 2005 signaled increased relations between the two nations. Four agreements were signed in the presence of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and visiting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in the presidential palace:

  • a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on combating terrorism and certain other crimes;
  • an agreement on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic passports and the facilitation of issuance of entry visas to holders of official passports;
  • an agreement on program of cultural exchanges from 2005 to 2009, calling for the implementation of various exchanges in the cultural information materials, performing arts and the promotion, conservation, restoration of historical and cultural patrimony; and
  • a MOU formalizing the business agreements between the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) and United Marketing of Pakistan for the supply of pharmaceuticals from Pakistan to support the low-cost medicines program of the Philippine government.[25]

Apart from the four agreements, President Musharraf also assured Pakistan's full support for the Philippine government's efforts to end the decades old rebellion in the southern islands of Mindanao.[25]

 Qatar 1975-04-12
 Saudi Arabia 1969

Relations between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have remained robust. The two countries share common interests in international and multilateral organizations and have stood on the same side on many issues in the United Nations and other international forums.

Saudi Arabia, through its membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference Ministerial Committee of Six, which facilitated the forging of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro National Liberation Front (GRP-MNLF) Peace Agreement, has been a supporter of peace and development in Southern Philippines.

Saudi Arabia is the second biggest employer of Filipinos, the second home of around 1.2 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The government of Saudi Arabia provides scholarship grants to Muslim students of Mindanao. It also gives financial assistance for the construction of schools and Islamic centers all over the country and provides support for Filipino pilgrims to Hajj and Umrah.

 South Korea 1949-03-03

South Korea is one of the Philippines' largest trading partners. The two nations were especially close as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, under the United Nations command of Douglas MacArthur, were pledged to fight for South Korea and its allies in the Korean War. On 2011, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the Philippines during the Korea Philippine Business forum together with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

 Sri Lanka 1951-01

Sri Lanka and the Philippines established their bilateral, diplomatic and trade relations in 1951, the Philippines opens a legation in Colombo. The relations were upgraded to the Embassy level in Colombo and Manila in 1964 respectively. On 1990, the Sri Lanka government decided to close down the Embassy in Manila, while the Government of the Philippines also closed down their embassy in Colombo on June 1993.

 Thailand 1949-06-14

Thai–Philippine relations continue to be warm and friendly.[26] Formal Relations with Thailand was established 14 June 1949.[27] Thailand is one of the Philippines major trade partners and one of the Philippines' source of rice through Thai exports.[28] Bilateral Relations continues to be strengthen through talks and agreements on economic, security and cultural matters including concerns on Rice trade, fight on drugs and human trafficking.[29]


The Philippines recognize the One-China policy but has relations to the Republic of China (ROC, also known as Taiwan) through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila. Both offices were established in 1975 and were organized as non-profit and non-stock private corporations.

Total investment amount: US$1.1 billion (Taiwan is the 5th largest foreign investor in the Philippines)

Philippine exports to Taiwan: US$3.1 billion

Philippine imports from Taiwan: US$2.3 billion

OFWs in Taiwan: 87,000 (the 2nd largest foreign worker nationality group in Taiwan)

Trips to the Philippines by Taiwanese: 73,000 people (the 5th in foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines)

By early March 2011, the Philippines deported 15 Taiwanese drug pushers to Beijing, China. The ROC protested against this action. The Philippine government sent Manuel Roxas II to talk with ROC President Ma Ying-jeou. During the visit, Roxas mentioned that the Philippines "regret" their actions. But the ROC maintained that the Philippines apologize for their action. The mission failed, so a second one was sent, headed again by Roxas. The mission, however, failed. From then on, ROC–Philippine relations became strained. But now the ROC and Philippines are back to normal.

 Tajikistan 1992-03-25[3]
 United Arab Emirates 1980-06-17

The Philippine Embassy in Abud Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates formally opened in June 17, 1980. The United Arab Emirates is dependent on expatriate workers, with a significant number of them are Filipinos. There are about 600,000 Filipinos in the Emirates. As efforts to expand labor relations the UAE is prospecting in areas of highly skilled labor, agriculture and environment studies. Total trade between the Philippines and the UAE increased to $1.61 billion in 2010 from $1 billion in 2009.[30] [31]

 Uzbekistan 1992-04-13[3]

First round of political consultations were held in OIC and hopes for the resolution of the Muslim insurgency mainly affecting the southern part of the Philippines. The Philippines highlighted untapped potentials, despite remote geographical position, for developing trade-economic cooperation and expanding interactions between financial institutions.[32]

 Vietnam 1976-07-12

Since the end of the Cold War relations between the Philippines and Vietnam have warmed rapidly. Today the Philippines and Vietnam are economic allies and have a free trade deal with each other. Both nations are a part of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Philippines and Vietnam have conducted joint military exercises together in the South China Sea and are trying to find ways to turn the Spratly Islands from an area of conflict to an area of cooperation.

The Philippines and Vietnam are also monitoring China's expansion into the South China Sea making sure that China is no threat to either Philippine or Vietnamese islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines also imports a large amount of writing material, clothes and other products from Vietnam. On May 2009, The Philippines signed an agreement with Vietnam to cooperate in the fight against crime and to ensure social order.[33] On January 2010, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnam bourse “for mutual collaboration and communication of information and experience” to facilitate the development and efficient operation of both securities markets.[34]

 Yemen 1977-05-04[35]

In 2011, there were about 1,600 Filipinos working in Yemen with about a thousand of them staying in the Yemeni capital of



Country Formal relations began Notes
 Angola 2001-09-14[37]

 Burkina Faso 2002-10-10[38]
 Cape Verde 2000-03-21[39][40]
 Republic of the Congo 2000-01-19[39][41]
 Djibouti 1977-06-27

The Philippines supported the independence of Djibouti and recognized it on June 27, 1977. Djibouti has opened its consulate in the Philippines to maintain good relations between the two countries.

 Egypt 1955-01-18[42]

Egypt and the Philippines established bilateral, diplomatic and trade relations in 1955 where the two countries enjoy an strong and glorious relations. Both countries has an embassies in Cairo and Manila. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited Egypt to held a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This was the first time that the Philippine President is visiting Egypt.

 Equatorial Guinea

Both the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea were former Spanish colonies. There are about 4,000 Filipino workers in Equatorial Guinea. There has been cordial ties especially in the fields of trade and investments, agriculture, education, cultural and technical cooperation. The Philippines is interested in partnering with Equatorial Guinean entities to conduct oil exploration and the possibility of importing oil from Equatorial Guinea. The Philippines is also interested in developing infrastructure for seaports to improve cargo handling and delivery. He likewise expressed Philippine interest in developing facilities for seaports to improve cargo handling and delivery.[43]

 Ghana 1957-03-06

The Philippines has recognized the independence of Ghana on 6 March 1957. Diplomatic relations were established during the recognition of the state. The Republic of Ghana has opened its consulate in the Philippines to extend and render assistance to Ghanaians and help maintain good relations between the two countries.[44]

 Gambia 1996-06-26[45]
 Guinea-Bissau 1976-10-26[35]
 Ivory Coast 1960-08-07

The Philippines and Côte d'Ivoire established diplomatic relation and recognized a state on August 7, 1960. There were some 100 Filipinos in Côte d'Ivoire, mostly professional and skilled workers and some permanent residents, and the Philippine government had repatriated 10 Filipinos after tensions in the country started following the second round of the 2010 presidential elections.[46]

 Kenya 1975

The Philippines and Kenya have forged a historic agreement to strengthen ties between both countries. Under a Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), both Manila and Nairobi will meet on a regular basis to explore ways to broaden and strengthen political, economic, scientific, technical, social and cultural cooperation between the two countries. The agreement “is the first ever signed agreement between the two countries and will serve as the foundation for collaborative ties and provide guidance for the future of Philippines-Kenya relations".[47]

 Lesotho 1998-04-15[48]
 Libya 1976-11-17
 Mauritania 2013-09-30[49]
 Malawi 2001-05-03[50]
 Morocco 1975-12-27[35]
 Mozambique 1997-03-27[51]
 Nigeria 1962

Nigeria continues to be a hub for Overseas Filipinos primarily workers involved in the oil, gas and construction industry of the country. While Filipinos go to Nigeria for employment Nigerians go to the Philippines to pursue their higher education studies. [52] The Philippines previously imposed a deployment ban to Nigeria due to incidents of kidnappings of Filipino seafarers in the Niger Delta between 2006-2009 but has since been lifted after the Philippines recognized that the insurgency in the Delta has been properly addressed.

By the end of 2011, there were 7,240 Filipinos in Nigeria, mostly professionals and spouses of Nigerian nationals.[53]

 São Tomé and Príncipe 2000-11-08[39][54]
 Senegal 1976-03-15[35]
 Sierra Leone 1991

Sierra Leone and the Philippines have pledged to strengthen bilateral relations to the mutual benefit of both countries. The two countries, which are celebrating 20 years of diplomatic relations this week, vow to work further to expand their relations in the socio-economic, political and cultural fields.[55]

 South Africa 1993-11-01

South Africa and the Philippines established relations on November 1, 1993. South Africa is the largest trading partner of the Philippines in Africa and the Philippines ranked South Africa as it's 36th largest trading partner in 2008. The visit of South African President Nelson Mandela in March 1997 led to the ratification of the Philippines–South Africa Trade Agreement in 2002.[56][57]

There are about 1,890 Overseas Filipino Workers stationed in South Africa, most of them working in garments and packaging industries while the some are professionals. There are Filipinos in South Africa married to South Africans and other nationals living in the country.[58]

 South Sudan 2013-03-13

The Philippines recognized South Sudan's independence on August 1, 2011, almost a month after the later's declaration of independence. There are about 150 Overseas Filipino Workers stationed in South Sudan. The Filipino embassy in Cairo has jurisdiction on South Sudan.[59]

 Togo 2000-08-24[39]
 Tunisia 1975-12-12[35]


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Antigua and Barbuda 2010-07-16[60]
 Argentina 1948

Argentina and the Philippines were former Spanish colonies. In 2013, both countries commemorated the 65th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral, diplomatic, and trade relations. Both countries also proposed separate bilateral agreements on culture, education, and sports in the future as well as co-operation on the promotion of the study of the Spanish language. Argentina has an embassy in Manila, and the Philippines has an embassy in Buenos Aires. Argentine Foreign Secretary Héctor Timerman was the first foreign minister from Latin America to visit the Philippines under the administration of President Aquino. Del Rosario and Timerman discussed how to broaden the relations, people and cultural engagement between the two countries. Argentina is expected to export citrus to the Philippines.[61]

 Bolivia 1970-01-07

Bolivia and Philippines were both Spanish colonies, diplomatic relations between the two countries began in 1970. The Philippine Embassy in Buenos Aires exercised jurisdiction over Bolivia. Furthermore, the Embassy of Bolivia in Tokyo has jurisdiction over the Philippines. Philippine general has two honorary consulates in Bolivia in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. There are about 15 Filipinos in Bolivia most of them are religious missionaries and others are married with Bolivians.[62]

 Brazil 1946-07-04

In June 2009, The Philippines and Brazil made their pledges as they signed mutual cooperation agreements in the fields of bio-energy and agriculture.[63] The two countries committed themselves to take the necessary steps to implement the signed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Agriculture and the Memorandum of Understanding on Bioenergy Cooperation.[64] The Philippines and Brazil signed six memoranda of understanding and agreements on the development and production of renewable energy, and agriculture cooperation.[65] It intends to “facilitate technical cooperation... on the production and use of biofuels, particularly ethanol, and promote the expansion of bilateral trade and investment in biofuel.”[66]

 Bahamas 1976[67]
 Barbados 2009-06-22

Barbados established formal relations with the Philippines with the signing of a Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations in New York on June 22, 2009. The establishment of relations was proposed by Barbados the year before through the Philippines' embassy in Caracas in Venezuela. Barbados is currently under the jurisdiction of the Philippine embassy in Caracas.[68]

 Canada 1949

Philippine–Canadian relations officially began in 1972 when the first Canadian mission in 1949 was upgraded to a full embassy. But years before that—in the 1890s, Canadian investments had preceded Canadian diplomacy in Canadian International Development Agency’s resources targets strife-torn Mindanao to help restore peace and rebuild lives and properties.

 Chile 1946-07-04

The Philippines and Chile were both former Spanish colonies. Diplomatic relations between Chile and the Philippines began in 1854 when Chile opened a consulate in Binondo, Manila. But the formal relations established in July 4, 1946, the day that Filipinos officially gained independence from the United States. In 2012, the Philippines and Chile were eyeing partnerships in mining and geothermal energy, President Sebastián Piñera shares stories about his country to President Benigno Aquino III during a bilateral meeting on Saturday in Russia, where the APEC summit is currently being held, President Piñera also mentioned to President Aquino that his country needs English teachers, a potential jobs that awaits Filipinos in Chile. In that year also, saying that there were 318 Spanish-trained basic education teachers in the Philippines, Philippine secretary of the Department of Education Armin Altamirano Luistro announced an agreement was in process with the Chilean government to train Filipino school teachers in Spanish. In exchange, the Philippines will help the Chileans with their English fluency.[69] [70] [71]

 Colombia 1946-07-05[72]
 Cuba 1952-09-03[73]

Cuba and the Philippines were both former Spanish colonies. Spanish rule on both countries was ended by the victory of the United States in the Spanish–American War as provisions of the Treaty of Paris giving Cuba independence and the Philippines becoming a new possession of the United States. Cuba has an embassy in Manila and the Philippines has an embassy in Havana.

Despite the Philippines being a long-time of ally of the United States, which has currently unfavorable relations with Cuba, The Philippines has denounced the United States embargo against Cuba.[74]

 Dominica 2011-05-03[75]

Grenada has consulate in Makati City

 Guyana 2008-09-22[76]
 Jamaica 1980-05-28[35]
 Mexico 1953-04-14

Mexico and the Philippines share a myriad of traditions and customs derived from historical ties established since the 16th century. Their common history dates back to the time when both countries were part of New Spain. King Philip II of Spain ordered the expedition known as the Legazpi exploration. During the Mexican administration of the Philippines, other than General Legazpi, all of the governor-generals were born in Mexico. Due to the extensive contact with the Philippines in those days, many cultural traits were adopted by one another, with Mexicans remaining in the Philippines, and Filipinos establishing in Mexico, particularly the central west coast, near the port town of Acapulco. Many Nahuatl words were adopted and popularized in the Philippines, such as Tianggui (market fair) and Zapote (a fruit).

Mexico administered the Philippines up until 1815, when the insurgent movement begun and Spain had to take direct control of the islands. After the colonial administration period from Mexico, the first official contacts of Mexico with the Philippines were established in 1842, when a Mexican Representation was opened in Manila. With the assignment of Mexican diplomat Evaristo Butler Hernandez in the Philippines in 1878.[77]

In 1935, Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs appointed Alfredo Carmelo y de las Casas as Honorary Consul of Mexico in the Philippines, position that he held until 1945. After the Second World War, the Independence of the Philippines brought forth a new era of relations between the two countries. Mexico dispatched an envoy to participate in the festivities to celebrate the birth of the Southeast Asian nation. Diplomatic ties between both countries were formalized on April 14, 1953. The year of 1964 was decreed the "Year of Philippine-Mexican Friendship" to celebrate the Fourth Centennial of the Expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi. In modern day, the conquest of the Philippines is seen as a Spanish initiative, while Mexicans view it as a historical link of brotherly friendship, and several groups intend on strengthening relations between the two countries.[77] Mexico has an embassy in Manila, and the Philippines has an embassy in Mexico City. Both countries share a multitude of bilateral agreements including cooperation in Science, Technology, Culture, Tourism, Education, and the fight against illegal drug trafficking and abuse. There is currently an initiative to distinguish the long lasting relation by formalizing the Filipino section of Mexico City's Chinatown by creating Barrio Manila or Barrio Filipino(Little Manila) in or near the current area within Downtown Mexico City.

 Peru 1974-11-30[35]

In 2008, Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Former Peruvian President Alan García held bilateral talks and shared commonalities talking about the kinship between their two countries. The Philippines and Peru are both predominantly Roman Catholic countries and were ruled by the Spanish Empire for hundreds of years. Following on the meeting of the two Presidents, it was announced in 2008 that the re-introduction of the Spanish language in Philippine schools in 2009 would be a very timely move as the Philippines and Peru had agreed to expand their diplomatic, bilateral and trade relations.[78] In 2009, a Philippines Department of Education order titled a Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MLE) detailed a planned educational methodology which did not involve the Spanish language.[79]

 Saint Kitts and Nevis 2000-08-11[80]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2000-10-11[81]
 Trinidad and Tobago 2000-04-18[82]
 United States 1946-07-04

The United States and the Philippines continue to enjoy excellent relations with each other. The United States was the architect of the current form of government in the Philippines through a series of acts of the United States Congress towards the creation of a commonwealth.[83] The relationship between the two nations is founded on the Philippines' history as an American territory and commonwealth before achieving independence.

The two societies also share some cultural identities: the plans of Manila and Baguio City were designed by Daniel Burnham[84] of Chicago, Americans and Filipinos speak the English language, and are largely Christian.

The two share political heroes: William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. both served as Governors-General of the Philippines and Douglas MacArthur liberated the islands from the Japanese during World War II.

The Philippines is a largely Roman Catholic country. The Pope appointed several Americans as bishops of the various Philippines dioceses during the territorial and commonwealth years, including leadership over the Archdiocese of Manila.[85] In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed an American to be his ambassador to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams of Philadelphia.[86]

Shortly after the conclusion of the Spanish–American War and the transfer of sovereignty over the Philippines from Spain to the United States via the Treaty of Paris which ended that war, the insurgent First Philippine Republic government declared war on the United States. The Philippine–American War ended with the loss of more than 4000 American soldiers, and the deaths of up to 1,000,000 Filipinos. In the US, this war is largely forgotten, or remembered simply as the aftermath of the Spanish–American War. In the Philippines, it is remembered as a patriotic struggle for independence, and for the brief institution of the First Philippine Republic.

The Philippines Embassy is located in Washington, D.C. With the geographic extent of the United States and its large number of Filipino resident aliens, the Philippines established several official consulates: Agana, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York City, Saipan and San Francisco. Honorary consulates were opened in other locations.[87] Each official consulate has jurisdiction over a number of U.S. states. For example, the Consul in Chicago oversees a territory of fourteen states in the Midwestern United States.[88]

Since the Spanish–American War, the United States has had a military presence in various forms in the Philippines. Filipinos fought alongside Americans in World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. Today, the two are allies in the War on Terror.[89] While its military bases were closed during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos, the United States continues to adhere to the Mutual Defense Treaty ratified by the United States and Philippines senates in 1951.[90]

In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush declared the Philippines as a Cold War. SEATO was a NATO-type military alliance created to combat Communist threats in Southeast Asia.

Today, the two countries are primarily partners in counterterrorism. Both the Philippines and the United States share intelligence and engage in military exercises in Mindanao and RIMPAC in Hawaii.

The Philippines and the United States supported each other in wars such as:

  • R.P-U.S Mutual Defense Treaty

The Mutual Defense Treaty Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America was signed and ratified on August 30, 1951 in Washington, D.C. between representatives of the Philippines and the United States. The overall accord contained eight articles and dictated that both nations would support each other if either the Philippines or the United States were to be attacked by an external party.[90]

  • R.P-U.S Visiting Forces Agreement

The Philippines has bilateral agreements with the United States relating to the status of visiting forces.[90][90]

 Venezuela 1968-08-27

Both Venezuela and the Philippines share a Hispanic heritage and relations between the two countries has been warm and friendly since it formal establishment of ties on August 27, 1968. Venezuela has an embassy in Manila and the Philippines has an embassy in Caracas.[91]

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez made a state visit in the Philippines in 1999 and signed the RP-Venezuela Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding on Trade and Investment.[92]

Venezuela is the Philippine's 5th largest trading partner in South America with Philippine exports increasing to 38 million dollars in 2004, compared to just 1.6 million dollars of 2003. The Philippines is willing to work with Venezuela in both energy and power industries.[91]


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Andorra 2000-02-22[93]
 Belarus 1996-05-22[94]
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2001-01-12[95]
 Croatia 1993-02-25

The Philippines and Croatia established formal relations on February 25, 1993. In June 2009, The Philippines and Croatia concluded two agreements on cooperation in the fields of culture and sports, which paved the way for greater people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. The agreements were a Memorandum of Agreement on Cultural Cooperation, which aims to promote better understanding between the peoples of the two countries and a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Sports.[96]

 Czech Republic 1973

The current diplomatic relationship of the Czech Republic and the Philippines has its roots to the friendship of Filipino national hero José Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt even neither countries existed yet back in the 19th century. Rizal visited Blumentritt in the city of Litoměřice, Bohemia (present day Czech Republic) in 1887. According to Filipino Foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, the friendship between the two men served as the foundation of the current bilateral ties between the two countries.

The Czech Republic is the Philippines' 24th largest export market and the 8th biggest in Europe with bilateral trade amounting to $300 million from January to November last year.[97]

 Denmark 1946-09-28

Denmark–Philippines relations refers to the historical and current relations between Denmark and the Philippines. Denmark is represented in Philippines, through its embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and through the Royal Danish Consulate General in Manila, Cebu and Davao. Philippines is represented in Denmark, through its embassy in Oslo, Norway. The Philippines also have a consulate in Copenhagen.

 Estonia 1991-09-17[98]
 Finland 1955-07-14

The Philippines and Finland share bilateral diplomatic relations established in July 14, 1955. The Philippines has an embassy in Helsinki and Finland has an embassy in Manila. The Embassy in Manila is also the Finland's representative in some Pacific Island nations such as Palau, Micronesia and Marshall Islands.

 France 1947-06-26

During the centennial of the French Revolution in 1889, author José Rizal sought to organize a conference called the Association Internationale des Philippinistes with Ferdinand Blumentritt as President and Edmond Plauchut as Vice President.

The French also permitted Philippine national hero José Rizal to live in exile in France where he wrote the books Noli Me Tángere and El filibusterismo. These books were also inspired by the French literary giant Alexandre Dumas.

On June 26, 1947 the Philippines and France signed a Treaty of Amity which established diplomatic relations with the two countries.[99]

  • French in the Philippines

There are about 2400 French citizens living in the Philippines for either education, business, work or other reasons.

The French Ministry of Culture is active in promoting French culture through its school, Alliance Française de Manille's activities. The French Embassy in the Philippines has sponsored fashion shows, film festivals, art exhibits, wine launches and numerous concerts. It is the prime mover of the annual Fête de la Musique in Manila (at one time, one of the top ten festivals in the world). There is also an Alliance Française de Cebu in Cebu City.

 Germany 1955-04-25

The Philippines and Germany established their bilateral, diplomatic and trade relations on April 25, 1955. A trade agreement was signed which led to a dynamic commercial cooperation between the two countries. The two countries were opened their embassies in Manila and Bonn. The German–Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established on 2008 to promote and strengthen ties between the two countries.

 Greece 1947

There is a Philippine embassy in Athens. Greece has an embassy in Manila and an honorary consulate general. There are around 40,000 Filipinos in Greece, making them one of the largest foreign communities in Greece. In addition, it is estimated that there are over 22,000 Greeks living in the Philippines. Greece and the Republic of the Philippines also share economic and trading relations.

 Holy See 1951-04-09

Philippines and Vatican City established their first diplomatic relations after the arrival of Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, the first Apostolic Nuncio, on April 9, 1951. Manuel Moran became the first ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See when he presented his Letters of Credence to Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1951. During the term of President Elpidio Quirino that the Apostolic Delegation to the Philippines was raised to the status of Nunciature.

In November 2011, Pope Benedict XVI, sent a message to Philippine bishops who conducted an ad limina visit that month and mentioned that:[100]

  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Manila.[101]
  • The Philippines has an embassy in the Holy See (Vatican City.)[102]
 Iceland 1999-02-24

Iceland has its representation in the Philippines through its embassy in Tokyo, Japan, and the Philippines' ambassador in Oslo, Norway is also accredited to Iceland; although both countries established honorary consulates in Reykjavík[103] and Makati City, Metro Manila,[104] respectively.

 Ireland 1984

The Irish and the Filipinos have long had a close relationship, and are especially close in modern times. The Republic of Ireland has a sizeable Filipino community because it is a major employer of Filipino nurses in Europe.

 Italy 1947-07-09[105]

The first Philippine diplomatic mission to Italy was established on 1948 as a legation, subsequently elevated to the level of an Embassy in 1956. Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Italy were established in 1947. A Treaty of Friendship and General Relations was signed in Rome and ratified in 1948.

 Latvia 1991-12-17[106]

The Netherlands is currently one of Philippines most important trading partners within the EU. The two have shared major trading partnership back to when the Philippines was a Spanish colony.

 Norway 1948-03-02

Relations between the Philippines and Norway established on 2 March 1948. Recently there has been an increasing number of Filipinos in Norway, with about 12,000 Overseas Filipino living in Norway. Norwegian ship owners employs about 35,000 Filipino seafarers in Norwegian vessels and shipyards.

Norway is also an important facilitator in talks between the government of the Philippines and the CPP-NDF-NPA, in an effort to put an end to the Communist Insurgency in the Philippines.

 Poland 1973-09-22[35]
 Romania 1975-04-12

Philippines–Romania relations are foreign relations between the Philippines and Romania. The Philippines has an embassy in Bucharest. Romania has an embassy in Manila and 2 honorary consulates (in Angeles City and Cebu City). Both countries are full members of the Latin Union.

 Russia 1976-06-02

Philippine ambassador to Moscow, Russia Ernesto V. Llamas, reported to the Department of foreign affairs that the Philippines and Russia observed 30 years of formal, diplomatic relations on June 2, 2006, through an exchange of top-level officials in the mass media and a recognition of initiatives in the field of politics, economics, culture and tourism.[107] Llamas said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged official messages in the two countries' leading newspapers, The Philippine Star and Izvestia. As of 2007, the Russian ambassador to the Philippines is Vitaly Y. Vorobiev.[108] Russia has an embassy in Manila. The Philippines has an embassy in Moscow, and two honorary consulates (in Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok).

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines said on Tuesday, April 24, that Russia is laying the infrastructure to become a major oil supplier to Asian countries and is considering proposals to build an oil refinery and storage facilities in the Philippines to serve Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian countries have expressed interest in Russia's plans to become an important energy provider in the region and Moscow should carefully plan how it could assume that crucial role, Ambassador Vitaly Vorobiev told foreign correspondents.[109]

Due to a sharp increase in the number of Filipino nationals being sought to work in private homes throughout Russia, the Philippine Government has deemed it necessary to impose new requirements on the direct hiring of Filipino housekeepers and nannies in Russia in order to secure their well-being through placement in qualified households as well as ensure the engagement of only competent staff.[110]

 San Marino 2003-04-03[111]
 Spain 1947-09-27

The Philippines was the lone Spanish colony in Asia for almost three and a half centuries. There continues to be mixed feelings between many Filipinos towards Spain and the common negative resentment most Filipinos have towards the colonial mentality that has been ingrained in many Filipinos, but relations have improved significantly over the years since after independence. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo concluded her second state visit in Spain in July 2006, bringing back millions of dollars of Spanish investments, particularly in Tourism and Information Technology. The Spanish king, Juan Carlos I, also reiterated in Mrs. Arroyo's visit, his support for her project in the Philippines to re-establish Spanish as an official language in the country. He and his wife, Queen Sofia attended the 1998 centennial celebrations in Manila, commemorating 100 years of independence from Spain. The mediation of King Juan Carlos I is said to have produced the pardon and liberation of 2 Filipina domestic workers sentenced to death in Kuwait and the UAE.

 Sweden 1947

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Sweden were established in 1947, and have steadily intensified during the years. Sweden has long been a development partner of the Philippines. Sweden’s cooperation with the Philippines focuses on issues concerning the environment, human rights, good governance, training, and assistance to non-government organizations (NGOs).

  Switzerland 1956-08-30

Bilateral ties between the Philippines and Switzerland date back to the early 19th century when Swiss traders, missionaries and travelers went to Southeast Asia. A Swiss representation in the Philippines was proposed in 1851, which was realized with the opening of a Swiss honorary consulate in Manila in 1862. Formal relations was established between the two countries on August 30, 1956.[112] The Philippines has an embassy in Bern and Switzerland has an embassy in Manila.

 Turkey 1949-06-13[113]

Philippines–Turkey bilateral relation started with the signing of Friendship Treaty in 1949. Turkey open an embassy in Manila and the Philippines opened an embassy in Ankara.

 Ukraine 1992-04-07[3] The Philippines recognized Ukraine's independence on January 22, 1992 and formal relations began on April 7, 1992. From April 1992 until June 1993 the bilateral relations between the two country were maintained through the Philippines' embassy in Poland. Since 1993 the Philippines' embassy in Moscow maintains jurisdiction over its country's relations with Ukraine. Since December 2004 Ukraine maintained its relations with the Philippines through its embassy in Tokyo in Japan. Prior to December 2004, Ukraine maintained relations with the Philippines through its embassies in Indonesia and Vietnam.[114]
 United Kingdom 1946-07-04

The UK and the Philippines have good relations. As of 2014, Britain is the largest European investor in the Philippines.[115] In 2002 President Arroyo and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair met to talk about poverty and terrorism.[116] Then in December 2007 President Arroyo met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to talk about the situation of Filipinos in the UK.[117] President Benigno S. Aquino III visited London on 4–6 June 2012, as guest of the British Government. The latest high-level British official to visit the Philippines was Foreign Secretary of State William Hague MP last 29–30 January 2014.[118]

The Philippines has been one of the UK's major recruitment countries for nurses and over 80,000 Filipino nurses and care-givers work in the UK. The total Philippine community in the UK is estimated to be about 150,000. About 65,000 British nationals visit the Philippines annually.[119]

The UK has also supplied the Philippine military with the Simba APC, Alvis Scorpion Tank, and the Peacock-class patrol vessel.


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Australia 1946-07-04

As concerns over terrorism in Southeast Asia grew, Australia became the second largest provider of defense training to the Philippines after the United States. In 2003, the governments of Australia and the Philippines signed an MOU pertaining to the combating of international terrorism and transnational crime.

Subsequently, in May 2007 on a visit to Australia by President Arroyo, Australia and the Philippines signed a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement.[120] The agreement was signed in Canberra, Australia on 31 May 2007 by Philippine Defense Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr. and his Australian counterpart Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.[121][121] The Philippine Senate ratified the agreement on July 24, 2012.[122]

Australia assisted the Philippines and the United States in battles in the Philippines during World War II.

 Cook Islands 2011-12-12[123]

 New Zealand

The Philippines and New Zealand share normal diplomatic, trade, (small scale) military and economic relations. The Philippines and New Zealand were/are also partners in the Korean War, Vietnam War and War on Terror. The Philippines has an embassy in Wellington and 2 other consulates, one in Auckland and in Christchurch. There are over 16,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand.

The New Zealand police is currently helping the Philippine National Police combat methamphetamine.[124] The New Zealand Police also helps in providing training to the Philippine National Police.[125]


The Philippines has an embassy in Melekeok and Palau has an embassy in Manila. In January 2012, The Department of Foreign Affairs plans to close at least 10 embassies and consulates due to various economic grounds and the embassy on Palau is reported to be one of them. Palau President Johnson Toribiong requested President Benigno Aquino III to reconsider the closure of the Filipino embassy stationed in his country.

Toribiong said that Palau was “extremely disheartened” concerning the intention to close the Philippine's embassy in the country. The 5,000 Filipinos in the island nation is a main concern whether to close or maintain the Filipino embassy according to the Palau President. 20 percent of the population in Palau are Overseas Filipinos or 25 percent of the country's total labor force. Overseas Filipinos in Palau are employed at almost all fields of work whether white-collar or blue-collar jobs. According to the Palau President, Filipino overseas workers are a vital component of Palau’s economy.[126]

Through the Philippine Embassy, residents of Palau are given access to the Philippine's higher education and healthcare. About 100-150 patients are referred and sent to the Philippines through Palau's Medical Referral Program.[127]

Maritime borders of the two countries remains to be unsettled and remains to be defined by delimitation talks.

 Papua New Guinea

In March 2009, The Philippines and Papua New Guinea entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would enhance the cooperation between the two countries on the development of fisheries. The MoU will facilitate technology transfer in aquaculture development, promotion of shipping ventures, investments, technical training, joint research, and “strategic complementation” of each country’s plans in the “Coral Triangle” – or the waters between the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands.[128] The fisheries trade is significantly responsible for recent overall trade growth between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.[129]

 Solomon Islands 2004-09-27[130]

Relations with former states

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Soviet Union 1976-06-02

The Philippines and Soviet Union had mutual distrust due to ideological difference even though the later began to soften ties with the Soviet Union and its allies.

 South Vietnam

The Philippines recognized South Vietnam on July 1955. South Vietnam requested the Philippines to aid them in the Vietnam War. The Philippine embassy in Saigon ceased operations on April 29, 1975

 South Yemen 1977-10-21[35]
 Yugoslavia 1972-03-01[35]

Multilateral relations

Organizations Formal Relations Began Notes
 Association of Southeast Asian Nations The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration together with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The Philippines was one of the Founding nations.
 European Union 2013

The European Union and the Philippines shares diplomatic, economic, cultural and political relations. The European Union has provided €3 million to the Philippines to fight poverty and €6 million for counter-terrorism against terrorist groups in the Southern Philippines. The European Union is also the third largest trading partner of the Philippines. There are at least 31,961 Europeans (not including Spaniards) living in the Philippines.

 United Nations

When the Philippines joined signing the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, United States. This partnership has progressed since then into a number of development initiatives, activities and programs. Technical, financial and other forms of assistance to the Philippines began in the late 1940, as the country recovered from the ravages of World War II. The partnership between the United Nations and the Philippines began in 1945.


International disputes

The Spanish Administration governed various Pacific island colonies from Manila. These include the present-day Guam, and parts of Micronesia, all of which were given separate administrations under American oversight after Spain transferred power to the United States in accordance with the Treaty of Paris. Spanish Manila also governed possessions in Borneo, Halmahera, Taiwan, Pulau Ternate and Pulau Tidore, all of which transferred to non-American entities after the Spanish-American War.


Sabah, the largest region which the Philippines claim, is now an integral part of Malaysia. On January 23, 1878, Sulu Sultan Jamalul Alam leased or ceded (depending on translation used) his territory in Borneo, in which is now Sabah, to Austrian Gustavus von Overbeck. The Sultan was paid 5000 Malayan Dollars per year for the agreement. In 1882, Sabah became a British Protectorate, became a British colony after World War II, and joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.[131]

Philippine Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos openly claimed Sabah. The latter even ordered Sabah to be put into the Philippine map. Despite challenges of the Philippine government to bring the matter of the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Malaysia still rejects those calls. During 2002, violent mass deportations of illegal Filipinos residing in Sabah[132] resulted in more clamor for the Sabah claim. Up to this day, Malaysia still pays the annual cession payment of 5,300 Malaysian Ringgit to the Sultan's heirs.

Sulawesi Sea Islands

The case of Sipadan and Ligitan, which were in dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia, was taken into the ICJ, in which the former won. Sipadan and Ligitan are technically part of Sabah state, and thus would be part of the claim of the Sulu Sultanate's heir, the Philippines.

Macclesfield Bank

Macclesfield Bank, located east of the Paracel Islands, distantly southwest of the Pratas Islands and north of the Spratly Islands, is claimed by China[133] and Taiwan (Republic of China).[134][135]

Some sources[135][136] state that the Philippines claims this underwater feature. However, Jose Zaide, a Philippine diplomat of ambassadorial rank, has written that the Philippines does not claim the Macclesfield Bank.[137]

Scarborough Shoal

The Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal), located west of Palauig, Zambales, are claimed by the Philippines, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. The Philippines bases its claim on its close proximity of the Scarborough Shoal to the Philippines. It also says that the Scarborough Shoal is within the Filipino Exclusive Economic Zone and argues terra nullius. A Yuan dynasty map dated as early as 1279 is the basis for the claim of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. They argue that the area was historically used by their fishermen.

Spratly Islands

The Spratly Islands are a group of islands, reefs, and rocks located about 300 kilometers West of Aborlan, Palawan. The Philippines, along with the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei expressed claims. The Philippines officially staked a claim to some of the islands during the United Nations convention, although it was first expressed in 1956, when Tomás Cloma, a Philippine mariner, declared some of the eastern Spratlys as a protectorate of the Philippines. Based on proximity and on the United Nations Archipelagic Doctrine, the Philippines can claim some of the Spratlys as an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Whether these arguments (or any other used by the Philippines) would hold up in court is debatable but possibly moot, as the PRC and Vietnam seem unwilling to legally substantiate their claims and have rejected Philippine challenges to take the dispute to the World Maritime Tribunal in Hamburg.

See also


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External links

  • Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines
  • Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
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