The Philippine president says his government is seriously studying an Australian proposal to send refugees to his country, but suggests it cannot provide permanent settlement.

President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday there is still no agreement between the two countries after Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed earlier this month that there were talks with the Philippines and other countries on resettling refugees now in Australian-run detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Australia refuses to accept refugees who attempt to reach its shores by boat.

Aquino said the Philippines wants to assist Australia but there are limitations to how much it can do as a developing country.

He noted that the Philippines hosted hundreds of thousands of Indochinese refugees after the Vietnam War ended in the mid-1970s.