President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expressed hope on Tuesday that the Philippines and Uganda could find ways to strengthen their relationship as he welcomed Ambassador Betty Oyella Bigombe, the African country’s non-resident ambassador to the Philippines.

“It’s a great pleasure for us to welcome you as the Ambassador from the Republic of Uganda to the Republic of the Philippines, and I hope that during the time you will be with us, you will be able to find many ways to strengthen the relationship between our two countries,” President Marcos said in welcoming Bigombe in Malacañang.

“We are very much in the same path, our two countries, and therefore, I think the experiences and lessons that we have learned along the way will be of benefit to both our countries so long as we keep our partnership strong and our alliances very profound and alive.”

In presenting her credentials to the President, Bigombe said she was honored to serve as Ambassador-Designate of Uganda to the Philippines, as she noted the two countries’ warm, cordial, and traditional relations for a long time. 

“The Republic of the Philippines and Uganda are on the same path of delivering economic development to their people given their recent high growth witnessed in the past,” she said, hoping the relationship between the two countries could grow from strength to strength.

The Philippine embassy in Nairobi, Kenya has administrative jurisdiction over Uganda and the current non-resident Philippine ambassador to Uganda is Ambassador Marie Charlotte G. Tang. 

Last year, the Philippines’ total trade with Uganda was valued at US$4.04 million. Also in 2022, Uganda ranked as the Philippines’ 123rd trading partner (out of 231), 94th export market (out of 211), and 191st import supplier (out of 216). 

The Philippines’ top exports to Uganda include electrical machinery and equipment and parts, sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles; plastics; and, other made-up textile articles.

The country also ships worn clothing and worn textile articles, and rags; miscellaneous edible preparations; oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds, and fruit; and, industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder. 

The Philippines’ top imports from Uganda, on the other hand, include essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations; paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, paper or of paperboard; vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories; optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus, and parts and accessories thereof; and tools, implements, cutlery, spoons, and forks, base metal; and, its parts.

In terms of tourism, there were 34 and 220 foreign tourist arrivals recorded for 2021 and 2022, respectively. In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign tourist arrivals from Uganda totaled 526. 

There are an estimated 96 Filipino nationals in Uganda, as of last year, majority of those are professionals and skilled workers. Overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) remittances amounted to US$842,000 in 2021 and US$848,160 in 2022. | PND