Foreign Ministry official cites deep PH-Spain ties 

BALER, Aurora — An official of the Spanish Foreign Ministry highlighted the deep relation between the Philippines and Spain in terms of cultural, historical and economic aspects.

Director-General for North America, Eastern Europe, and Asia Javier Salido Ortiz took part in the observance of the 125th anniversary of the Start of the Siege of Baler and celebration of the 21st Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day in Baler, Aurora.

In his speech, Ortiz emphasized the historical significance of Baler, and the act of humanity and friendship extended to Spanish soldiers 125 years ago.

He recalled how Spanish soldiers, who have entrenched themselves in the Baler Church, were treated with dignity, and given necessary assistance before returning to Spain.

“This serves as a testament of the deep-rooted cultural and historical connections that bind us together,” he said.

At present, Ortiz noted that the two nations are working on establishing a framework that would further improve not only their historical and cultural link, but also their economic relations.

“Our economic ministries are now negotiating economic and financial agreements that will establish a framework to enhance investment and trade between our two countries. Spain’s economic presence in the Philippines has historically been lower than what our shared history and culture were. However, in recent years, there’s been a notable shift and [the] bilateral economic links are improving,” he explained.

Political consultations and a tribuna, which is a public gathering of the academia, public and private sectors, will be held in both countries in the coming months for collaborative programs and projects which will benefit citizens from both countries.

Meanwhile, Ortiz thanked Senator Juan Edgardo Angara for his support, dedication and perseverance in reinforcing the connection between the two countries.

“His [Senator Angara] efforts have allowed us to be here in Baler today, and I look forward to continuing celebrating these special days of both our countries,” he said.

Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day is celebrated every June 30 to highlight the enduring friendship between Spain and the Philippines as proclaimed by President Emilio Aguinaldo after the gallant Spanish garrison of Baler surrendered to Filipino forces following a year of being besieged. (CLJD/TJBM-PIA 3)