H.E. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte made a maiden official visit to KL on 09 – 10 November. In addition to strengthening bilateral G2G relations between Philippines and Malaysia; top of the agenda was for Secretary of Trade & Industry Hon Ramon Lopez meeting with his counterpart Hon Minister Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamad & leaders of Malaysia Philippines Business Council (MPBC), Bankers & entreprenuers. Also in attendance were HE Ambassador Ed Malaya, Hon MinDA Chair/Secretary Abulkhayr Alonto and MITI & DTI officers.
Malaysia is a significant trade, commerce and investment partner of the Philippines and the ASEAN Economic Community that serves as a strong impertus to further improve current relations.Evidently in 2015, Malaysia ranked as the Philippines’ 10th major trading partner (out of 220), 11th export market (out of 212), and 8th import supplier (out of 201). Total bilateral trade amounted to US$4.36 Billion.
ICIFE Director Dr. Haji Zulkifly Baharom who sits on the Board of MPBC attended the said meeting whereby he briefed Hon Ministers about the collaborative work on Islamic Finance Education that ICIFE has done in the Philippines especially with the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos, Autonomus Region in Muslim Mindanao, AIM, the Philippines Association of Islamic Accountants & Mindanao State University.
Hon Secretary Ma Lopez recognized ICIFE contributions and wished to see further active collaboration since ICIFE has already established 2 Chapters in the Philippines. He acknowledged that Bill No. 6848 known as ‘Charter of Al-Amanah Islamic Bank’ providing the regulations and organization of expanded Islamic Banking system in the Philippines was in the process of review at various Committee levels in the House of Representatives. Upon returned to Manila, he would seek update of the Bill from Hon Secretary of Finance and President Duterte.