Press Release
August 9, 2011


Spain has expressed its desire to forge cooperation anew, with the Philippines as Spain's partner in Southeast Asia and Spain as the Philippines' gateway to Europe and Ibero-American countries.

This follows a momentous parliamentary declaration passed by Spain's Congreso de los Diputados (Congress of Deputies), Senator Edgardo J. Angara revealed today.

He called on the Aquino administration to capitalize on this opportunity, especially in improving trade and tourism, as well as attracting more investments.

Angara also urged the government to look into other areas of cooperation, such as renewable energy, education, sports development, heritage conservation and cultural tourism where Spain excels.

"The Philippines and Spain have been bound by blood, history and culture through the last 500 years. This gives us an immense advantage over other countries in terms of potential trade and investment. Spain's expressed desire to enhance our economic, developmental and cultural partnership should be our impetus to take advantage of the chance now," said Angara.

Last June 30, Congreso de los Diputados President José Bono Martinez read the Institutional Declaration which was passed unanimously by the chamber on the same day. Through the declaration, Spain acknowledges the Philippines' magnanimity toward Spanish soldiers during the legendary Siege of Baler from June 30, 1898 to June 2, 1899.

They further thanked the Philippines for passing the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Act (Republic Act 9187) in 2002 - which was authored and sponsored by Angara - as well as other initiatives that continue to bolster ties, including the reintroduction of the Spanish language into the school curriculum.

Spain emphasized its wish to be the Philippines' primary champion in Europe and Latin America, and asked the Philippines to be its gateway to the Southeast Asian region.

"Spain passed this declaration during the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day, making it all the more memorable," said Angara.

He recalled that in 2007, the Senates of the Philippines and Spain agreed on a landmark accord calling for regular parliamentary encounters and projects during the visit of Angara and Senators Franklin M. Drilon, Juan M. Flavier and Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr. on the invitation of then Senator José Manuel Barquero, president of the Spain-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Both the visit and the agreement were the first ever of their kind between the two chambers of parliament.

"The Philippines and Spain are demonstrating that there is still new ground to be broken in spite of five centuries of shared history. It is an exceptional showing of commitment by two nations that consider each other as equals and genuine partners," said Angara, who was awarded the Premio Casa Asia in 2010, the first Southeast Asian to receive the prestigious foreign policy prize.

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