The Philippine Embassy in Spain recently commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Spain. The event was held at the Instituto Cervantes, Calle Alcala 49 in Madrid.
More than 100 guests from the Spanish government, diplomatic corps, academe, and business sector attended the event. The celebration also featured a photo exhibit of past and present Philippine Ambassadors during their credentials presentation to the Kings of Spain, and a replica of the treaty that formally established relations between the Philippines and Spain.
In his speech, Instituto Cervantes Secretary-General Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga Salamanca welcomed guests and emphasized the strong and enduring relations between the two countries.
For his part, Cebu 4th District Representative Benhur Salimbangon stressed the close friendship between Spain and the Philippines and his desire for closer cooperation between the two countries.
In his toast, Philippine Ambassador to Spain His Excellency Philippe Lhuillier, underscored achievements in Philippine-Spanish relations, including the consistent exchange of high-level visits and the signing of over 60 bilateral agreements in various fields. These agreements—on education and sports, cultural cooperation, tourism, technology, investments and other equally important areas—attest to the continuing effort by both countries to strengthen their relations through the years.
Lhuillier cited the enactment of Republic Act No. 9187 in 2002, which celebrates “Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day” every June 30. The day commemorates the cultural and historical ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. It is a national special working holiday and a special non-working holiday in Aurora Province in the Philippines.
He further highlighted the emergence of Philippine investments in Spain, notably in wine manufacturing and real estate, and expressed optimism on the possibility of major Philippine brands coming into Spain in the next few years and Spanish investments and presence growing in the Philippines. Maximizing the potentials of existing mechanisms to boost Philippine-Spain trade and investments is also a key thrust of the Embassy in the coming years.
Ambassador Lhuillier also announced his plans for the Embassy under his tenure, foremost of which is the establishment of a Philippine Center that would serve as a one-stop shop for Filipinos working in Spain and Filipino-Spanish people who seek to reconnect with their heritage. He ended his remarks with a toast to the further strengthening of the excellent relations between the two countries.
Formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Spain was established on September 27,1947 and in March 1948, the Philippines sent Manuel Escudero to head the Philippine Delegation in Spain as Minister Plenipotentiary. In April 1951, the Philippines sent former Supreme Court Chief Justice Manuel Moran as its first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain. There have already been 15 Philippine Ambassadors to Spain, including current Ambassador, His Excellency Philippe Lhuillier.