Newly installed Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder expressed his country’s commitment to assist the Philippines in its rehabilitation efforts in eastern Visayas, which was reduced to “ground zero” by Typhoon Yolanda early last month.
Reeder presented his diplomatic credentials to President Benigno Aquino 3rd at the Malacanang Palace on December 2 (Monday).
The envoy said that the Filipino community in Canada, even Canadians themselves, are reaching out to raise funds and assist those in need of help.
“We are all deeply impressed by the resilience and determination of the people of the Philippines to rebuild and to recover from this tragedy,” he added.
Reeder also noted how impressed his government is with the ongoing work of the Philippine government to lead the disaster relief and reconstruction effort.
“In that regard, Canada has stood up to help through humanitarian assistance and with the presence of Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Panay Island where they will provide safe water, medical and engineering services to your citizens, working closely with the local authorities,” the ambassador said.
Reeder also underlined that efforts will continue to deepen bilateral trade relations between the Philippines and Canada.
“The government of Canada seeks to further expand commercial relations with the entire Asia-Pacific region as part of Canada’s Prosperity Agenda. In that respect, I will work closely with the Philippine government to build bilateral trade and investment ties for the benefit of both countries.”
Before he was appointed as ambassador to the Philippines, Reeder was the director-general of the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).
He also served as the director-general of the department’s communications branch.
Reeder has been with the Canadian Foreign Service since 1981 and has been posted to Canadian missions in Rabat, Washington and Hong Kong. He was also appointed deputy head of mission in Mexico, high commissioner of Canada to Brunei-Darussalam and ambassador to Costa Rica with concurrent accreditation to Nicaragua and Honduras.
In Ottawa, Reeder undertook assignments in the East Asia Division, the Francophone Africa Division and the Caribbean and Central America Relations Division.
He also served as Public Liaison Officer in the Arms Control and Disarmament Division.
The envoy was a foreign policy analyst for Asia Pacific in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Secretariat in the Privy Council Office, where he was awarded a Public Service Outstanding Achievement Award by the Clerk of the Privy Council.
Reeder graduated with honours, having gotten his bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and his journalism degree from Carleton University.
People to people links between Canada and the Philippines continue to be very strong, the embassy said.
There are more than 700,000 Canadians of Filipino origin in Canada.
“We are very proud of the many Canadians of Filipino origin who now live and work in our country. These hardworking people have made a major contribution to Canada. The community of Canadians of Philippine origin contributes to Canada’s diversity, prosperity and its success as a nation,” Reeder said.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON