Press Release
July 6, 2011


Following the successful celebration of the 9th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day in Baler, Aurora, Senator Edgardo J. Angara renewed his call for more joint programs with Spain.

"We have a lot to learn from our friends in Spain in several areas of interest. Now that we are strengthening the ties that hold us together, we must seize every opportunity to grow as partners," said Angara.

Ambassador Jorge Domecq of Spain agreed with the veteran senator when he spoke during the celebration of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day last June 29-30. "It is time we look at each other, and with mutual respect and understanding, we collaborate and learn from each other," said Domecq.

The Spanish ambassador said one such area of cooperation is the development of the education sector. "Since 2009, the Philippines and Spain have jointly decided to commit themselves to carry on and improve the bases of our long-standing educational cooperation."

According to Angara, Spain can help steer the growth of the Philippine education system because of its singular commitment to the sector. Back in 1857, Spain established one of the first public education laws for all children, regardless of gender, known as the Claudio Moyano Law. The Philippines followed suit after a decade, implementing the Decreto de Educacion de 1863 which required at least one school for boys and girls in every town.

Aside from joint academic programs with Spain, Amb. Domecq also mentioned the development of bilingual education in the Philippines as an area of cooperation.

"Bilingual education has deep roots in the Philippines, and the exchange of expertise in this field is likely to be rewarding for both nations," he said.

Last June, Angara and Domecq graced the graduation of 98 public high school teachers from an intensive 30-day Spanish course at the Instituto Cervantes in Manila. They were the first batch of teachers to undergo training for Spanish language teaching.

"Education is at the forefront of national development hence it should be given the utmost priority. We should see education as a worthwhile investment for the youth of our country," said Angara.

According to Angara, the tourism industry would also benefit from a partnership with Spain, a country famous for cultural tourism.

"The preservation and conservation of cultural heritage sites is a relatively new practice in the Philippines, whereas this has been the norm for the people of Spain for a long time. Tourists flock to their country for the rich cultural and historical experience that they offer," said Angara.

Amb. Domecq echoed this sentiment during his speech at the 112th Anniversary ceremony of the Siege of Baler on June 30.

"I would like to see more Spaniards coming to visit this beautiful country. That is why I have proposed a commercial mission of the tourism sector to come and study ways of enhancing our presence here," he said.

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