Press Release
June 29, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara encouraged the government to take advantage of the revitalized relations between the Philippines and Spain by pursuing cooperation programs on trade, energy, education, tourism and culture.

"We are no longer a colony but we can still look to Spain for lessons on economic development," said Angara, who will lead the national celebration of the 9th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day tomorrow.

"For instance, Spain is a leader in renewable energy generation, especially in wind and solar power. Our fledgling renewable energy will certainly benefit from best practices and investment from Spain's RE players," he added.

"We also have a lot to learn from them in the areas of heritage conservation, education and tourism. Spain has made a big industry out of cultural tourism," Angara pointed out.

Moreover, Angara proposed more academic exchanges and scholarships between the Philippines and Spain to take advantage of the increasing interest in learning Spanish, as well as the shared history and culture between the two nations.

This strengthened friendship, said Angara, was forged by a shared history that gave birth to a rich culture, a unique heritage that binds us up to this day.

"We should take pride in our deeper and stronger ties with Spain. Now that we are both on equal footing as independent nations, we can jointly set the path for future cooperation," said Angara.

Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Spain has been growing over the last five years, with a potential to expand further. The Philippines' exports to Spain reached €178 million in 2010 while Spain's to Philippines hit €167 million.

Angara authored the bill that eventually became Republic Act 9187, which establishes June 30 of every year as the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day.

The veteran lawmaker's historic hometown of Baler has been the host of the annual festivities since it was first celebrated in 2003.

This special day is also commemorated throughout the Philippines, as well as in Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla in Spain.

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