Press Release
October 30, 2010


MADRID, Spain -- As this year's recipient of the prestigious Premio Casia Asia, Senator Edgardo J. Angara said today that he will propose an extensive academic exchange program with Spain for our students and teachers.

Angara has been chosen by Casa Asia, the cultural arm of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to be this year's awardee because of his unmatched efforts to rekindle the relationship and understanding between Spain and the Philippines. He authored RA 9817, the act declaring June 30 as the official Philippine-Spain Friendship day, which has given birth to numerous initiatives in legislation, culture, arts, education and sports.

He enabled the signing of an agreement for academic exchange with the University of the Basque Country in Alava, Vizcaya and Gipuzkoa in the northern part of Spain, as well as an agreement for sports cooperation with the Spanish Ministry of Sports.

"My next proposal is to facilitate more academic exchanges and scholarships between the Philippines and various universities in Spain. Through more academic exchanges and scholarships, not only do we gain better understanding our historical ties with Spain, but Filipinos would gain entry into the international academic world," he explained.

According to Angara, former president of the University of the Philippines, this kind of academic exchange would help us learn more about our history, especially the centuries of shared experiences with the people of Spain.

Angara further proposed that language teaching be a major educational endeavor for Spain in the Philippines.

Last year, Spanish was reintegrated into the Philippine's high school curriculum as an elective.

"Spanish language teaching is the fastest-growing educational activity in the Philippines. The desire and demand for learning the language is overwhelming," he said.

According to Angara, carrying on with the study of the Spanish language provides more opportunities for work and social interaction. It will also allow us to better appreciate each other's literature.

"As late as the 50s and the 60s, many of what became our future national leaders were beneficiaries of Spanish education. Today the United States, United Kingdom and Japan have become the Philippines' main sources of education and training. Why shouldn't Spain, our historical madre patria, become more involved in educating our people like it did hundreds of years ago when they built the first schools in the country?," he added.

"Through these programs, we will have more opportunities to strengthen the historical and cultural bonds that unite our two countries," said Angara.

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