Overview of Philippines-Thailand Relations
Prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Thailand in 1949, contacts between the two countries were only through indirect trading. It was only on 14 June 1949 that direct relations between the Philippines and Thailand began as both countries signed the Treaty of Friendship, formalizing their bilateral relationship.
The Philippines and Thailand then established legations at each other’s capitals in 1949, with both countries elevating those to embassy status on 1 January 1956. From then on, relations between the two countries started to strengthen and flourish. Both became founders of SEATO in September 1954 and ASEAN in August 1967, and thereafter joined other regional and international fora. Cooperation likewise expanded outside trade and culture and began covering political, defense, investment, tourism, air services, scientific and technical, telecommunications, agriculture, justice and environment, among others.
Manila and Bangkok, the countries’ capitals, became sister-cities on 24 June 1997. In 1999, as the Philippines and Thailand celebrated 50 years of cordial, harmonious and dynamic friendship, the Philippines renamed Rada Street as Thailand Street in the bustling business district of Makati, while Thailand opted to have Soi Philippines (Philippine Street) at the corner where the Philippine Embassy is located along Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok’s business center.
The exchanges of visits between the two countries’ Leaders further attest to the excellent state of relations between the Philippinesand Thailand. Recent visits were of:
- President Benigno S. Aquino III to Thailand in May 2011 upon the invitation of former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjaviva; and
- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to the Philippines on 19 January 2012 as part of her introductory tour of ASEAN since officially becoming the Head of Government of Thailand on 5 August 2011.
Relations between the Philippines and Thailand likewise extend helping each other in times of natural disasters. In December 2011,Thailand donated US$100,000 in cash for the victims of tropical storm “Sendong.” In May 2010, Thailand turned over 520 metric tons (MT) or 10,400 bags of rice to the Philippine government for distribution to the victims of typhoon Ondoy. In 2005, the Philippines sent forensics teams to Thailand to assist in identifying the remains of victims in areas devastated by Indian Ocean tsunami in Southern Thailand.
Relations between Thailand and the Philippines are also vibrant in the field of trade and investments. A 2011 report from the Thai Ministry of Commerce (MOC) ranked the Philippines as the 12th export destination for Thai products with total value amounting to USD4,640.8 million. The same report showed that the Philippines was Thailand’s 17th largest supplier of goods in 2011 with value worth USD2,701.8 million. Bilateral trade for 2011, according to the same source, registered at USD7,342.6 million.
PHILIPPINES-THAILAND BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in June 1949, the Philippines and Thailand concluded 23 bilateral agreements. These are as follows:
1. Treaty of Friendship (Washington D. C., 14 June 1949)
2. Air Services Agreement (Bangkok, 27 April 1953), and Confidential Memorandum of Understanding (CMU) (Manila, 25 May 1995)
3. Agreement in the Abolition of Visa Requirements and Waiver of Visa Fees in certain cases (30 August 1962)
4. Cultural Cooperation Agreement (Manila, 22 July 1975)
5. Agreement for Agricultural Cooperation (Manila, 29 August 1979)
6. Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation (Bangkok, 11 April 1983)
7. Extradition Treaty (7 December 1984)
8. Tourism Cooperation Agreement (24 March 1993)
9. Agreement in Establishment of Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) (24 August 1993)
10. Agreement Recognizing the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (Manila, 19 May 1995)
11. Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (Manila, 30 September 1995)
12. Memorandum of Understanding on Telecommunications (Manila, 29 January 1997)
13. Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technical Cooperation (Manila, 30 January 1997)
14. Manila-Bangkok Sister City Agreement (Manila, 24 June 1997)
15. Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation (Bangkok, August 1997)
16. Counter-trade Cooperation (Bangkok, 2 September 1997)
17. Exchange Agreement between the Ministry of Education of Thailand and DECS of RP (Bangkok, 23 September 1997)
18. Supplemental Agreement to the Existing Bilateral Tourism Cooperation (18 December 1998)
19. Cooperation Agreement on the Prevention and Fight Against Criminal Activities (18 December 1998)
20. Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Spill Response (Manila, 27 November 1999)
21. Trade Agreement (Manila, 27 November 1999)
22. Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Agricultural Research and Development ( Thailand , 30 May 2000)
23. Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Manila, 13 October 2001).