March 26 (PNA Features) -- Philippine-Spain partnership is natural,
shaped by a historical serendipity of centuries ago that has pervaded
the Filipino social fabric. Filipinos are proud of their Spanish
heritage, which has become a tourism asset.
is how the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) itself describes
Philippine-Spain bilateral relations, in the limelight this week with
the three-day visit here of Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel
Moratino who arrives on Tuesday afternoon.
will immediately proceed to Malacanang to meet with Spanish-speaking
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Moratino will also ink at least
three agreements covering Spanish language teaching, health and
employment, with Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo.
motherliness in Spain's treatment of its only former colony in the Far
East, may be seen in its "consistently maintaining the Philippines in
its priority list for development assistance," thus getting so-called
non-reimbursable grant funds for cooperation activities.
this case, the DFA says, Spain tweaks the trend in most European
countries which focus assistance in the lowest income countries in
Philippines' most well-known novels, the "Noli me Tangere" and "El
Filibusterismo," which portrays Philippine life in the days of the
Spanish colonizers, were originally written in the Castillan language.
was Dr. Jose Rizal's 14-stanza "Mi Ultimo Adios," which all Filipinos
who went to college up to the mid-1960's would have memorized because
it was the natural requisite -- all of 12 units -- of academic life
most Philippine towns until then, Rizal Day on December 30 was
highlighted with a contest in reciting Rizal's last farewell and lament
before facing a firing squad, that began, thus:
"Adios Patria adorada/region del sol querida/Perla del mar de Oriente/nuestro perdido Eden.
how Filipinos first realized that our string of islands dotting the
Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea are truly the "Pearl of the
Spanish is no longer a mandatory foreign language toward a
baccalaureate degree and competent Spanish-language teachers are a
vanishing lot, though President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has mandated
that Spanish once again become also a medium of instruction in schools.
with Moratino's visit, the beginnings of that bilateral desire are
shaped with the scheduled signing of a Memorandum of Understanding
between Spain's Escuela Diplomatica and the DFA's Foreign Service
Institute for the teaching of Spanish to career diplomats.
Memorandum of Agreement for a program known as "Four-mula One" with the
Department of Health is also to be signed. An agreement to allow the
employment of dependents of diplomatic and consular officials is also
Wednesday, the offices of the newly-built "Escuela Taller," a
vocational school in Intramuros, will also be inaugurated with Moratino
attending, the DFA said.
to the DFA, Spain's cooperation with the Philippines in the next three
years aims mainly to contribute to the latter's targets for the
Millennium Development Goals, while they also jibe with Spain's own
priorities under its Master Plan and Manila's Medium-Term Development
Plan up to 2010.
Philippines' top imports from Spain range from brandy to sausage,
electrical products, printed circuits and feed additives for a total
USD118 million, while exports are coconut oil and frozen tuna for a
total of USD143.38 million. The total trade for 2008 is USD281.71
trade, investments and commerce are not so robust, people remain the
leading public relations asset of the Philippines, according to
are very sought after, are well liked by their employer because of
their dedication, honesty, industry and the good quality of their
work." There are currently about 70,000 Filipinos in Spain who are
holders of permanent resident cards or are Spanish citizens.
Filipinos could become Spanish citizens after they have established legal residence for at least two years.
Spain is praised for foreign workers -- friendly labor and social security laws.
workers in Spain enjoy an average of euros750 monthly, two mandatory
bonuses equivalent to two months basic salary, plus a 14th month pay,
Diplomatic relations were forged in 1947, reinforced through a comprehensive Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in June 2000.
Agreement," says the DFA, particularly provided renewed sense of
Philippine-Spain relations in the new millennium, marked by
developments in information and communications technology, increasing
environmental and humanitarian concerns and the move towards
2003, June 30 of each year is celebrated as Philippine-Spanish
Friendship Day, "symbolizing the Filipino people's gratitude and
appreciation for Spain's inestimable legacy of faith, culture and
values to our nation, including the beginnings of the country's
political solidarity as one people despite the geographic division and
linguistic differences." Sen. Edgardo Angara authored Republic Act 9187
that defined this bilateral link. (PNA Feature)
By Gloria Jane Baylon