Official political relations between Germany and the Philippines began in 1954 with the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany); the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) established diplomatic relations with the country in 1973. On 08 October 2019, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of the Philippines celebrated the 65th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.
The German Government works with the Philippines in many different fields, ranging from collaboration on climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk reduction, the peace process in Mindanao, energy transition, sustainable development, infrastructure, health, joint German-Filipino research projects to arts and cultural exchange.
The bilateral Agreement on Cultural Cooperation in April 1983 established official cultural and academic cooperation between Germany and the Philippines. The Embassy coordinates the work of the various German cultural institutions in the Philippines and maintains close contacts with numerous cultural and scientific institutions, groups and artists.
The Goethe-Institut Philippinen (German Cultural Center) opened its doors to the Philippine community in 1961. Today, it offers German language courses, provides an information center/library, organizes performances by visiting German artists and performers, film screenings, art exhibitions, theater shows and so forth. Together with other cultural institutions in the Philippines, it also collaborates in numerous international cultural projects including the annual International Silent Film Festival Manila and the Southeast Asian Science Film Festival.
With the establishment of the German European School in Manila (formerly, José Rizal School) in 1980, numerous academic linkages intensified cultural exchange. In 1992, the German School and the Lycée Français de Manille (French School Manila) jointly moved to the Eurocampus in Parañaque City, Metro Manila. In the school year 2002/2003, they set up the European International School (EIS) that offers the internationally recognised International Baccalaureate (IB) degree program.
Academic and scientific cooperation was further enhanced through cooperation agreements between universities, joint research projects and exchange of scientific personnel. Currently, the representative of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD) in Manila administers consultation services and coordinates academic and research partnerships as well as mobility programs with German and Philippines universities and other higher education institutions. The German Embassy Manila and the DAAD representative work together in strengthening people-to-people exchanges through different alumni associations and academic networks. Since 2019, the DAAD Philippinen organizes the annual German Language Teachers Conference in Manila.
German bilateral development cooperation focuses on two main areas: Peace and conflict transformation funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with a regional focus on Mindanao and projects related to the environment, climate protection, biodiversity and adaptation to climate change supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU). Under the BMU’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) the Philippines is one of the focus countries. Germany is currently assisting the Philippines with ongoing bilateral projects adding up to EUR 24.9 million funding volume. Furthermore, the Philippines are part of 23 regional and global projects under this initiative with a current total volume of EUR 185,5 million.
Other areas of cooperation include micro insurance, health, education and vocational training as well as special COVID-19 rapid response programs (click here).
GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) is an important implementing agency for bilateral German-Philippine development cooperation since the 1970s.
In addition, the German Government funds development activities of German non-governmental organizations, of the Churches and of German political foundations on a wide range of issues such as agriculture, health, human rights, education, peacebuilding, climate resiliency to name a few.
German traders have been active in the Philippines as far back as the 1880s. In 1906, the Deutsche Club Manila (German Club) was founded; it was also the first established club of its kind in the country. The German Club today remains a reputable organisation that also organizes the annual Oktoberfest with authentic festival cuisine and imported German beers.
After the end of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, the Philippines became more important for German companies. With a very young average population, which is largely English-speaking, the Philippines has developed into a globally leading location for outsourced company services and is also becoming increasingly important as a manufacturing location. Germany is one of the top 10 trading partners of the Philippines, and has the largest share in the EU-Philippine trade relations. The overall annual volume of bilateral trade has seen a stable 6 billion EUR (approx. 328-B PHP) over the past few years. The majority of imported goods from Germany are electronic goods, airplanes and machinery, while the top Philippine export products to Germany include electronics/semiconductors, machinery and gauges/measuring instruments. At the same time, the Philippines is a substantial provider of agriculture products and fish, especially tuna, to Germany.
The Philippines is an important country of origin in the world for shipping crews of all ranks and Filipino sailors thus play a key role in German merchant shipping. In recent years Filipino nurses have been recruited to work in Germany.
In 2008, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI) was established; further promoting and strengthening ties between the two countries. The GPCCI was accredited to the German association of commercial chambers or AHK in 2015. Among its major roles are promoting bilateral trade and investment, strengthening business relations among its members, and providing training, research, and other professional development opportunities. It also organizes the German trade fair, “Mabuhay Germany!”.
With a growing population of Filipinos living and working in Germany and with German companies - particularly in the manufacturing and service sectors such as automotive, healthcare, and marine/merchant shipping industries, among others - cooperation efforts on migration and labor employment policies and issues are being intensified. Dual-training programs have since been offered to support technical-vocational education, skills training, and professional development.
Official political relations started with the establishment of diplomatic relations by the Federal Republic of Germany immediately after the Philippines gained independence in 1956; the German…