The Philippine government remains optimistic that the country will continue to enjoy stronger bilateral ties and closer economic cooperation with Hungary, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Tuesday, highlighting the several agreements inked between Manila and Budapest.
In his speech during the National Day of Hungary, Locsin said the country sees a “reinvigoration” of the Philippines-Hungary ties following the reopening of its doors in Manila in March 2017.
“Since the reopening of the Hungarian Embassy in Manila, the Philippines is witnessing a reinvigoration of our bilateral relations with Hungary,” Locsin said, delivering a speech on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte in Makati City.
Locsin said high-level exchanges between the two countries have taken place since the reopening of the Hungarian Embassy, creating a “strong momentum” in the understanding between the two countries.
He visited Hungary this year followed by similar productive visits by officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Trade; members of Parliament; the Philippine National Police; and, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“They testified that our countries have entered a higher level of relations. Case in point, the inaugural meeting of the Philippine-Hungarian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation in Budapest earlier this year played an important role in enlarging our business and investment relations,” he said.
“With the signing this year of agreements in export promotion, investment promotion, and agriculture – our countries are on the path to closer economic cooperation,” he added.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who was also present in the occasion, said he expects the relationship of the two countries to generate mutual tangible benefits.
“As the relations of our two countries are more and more being revitalized, we anticipate more opportunities opening up for businessmen, tourists, students, and other stakeholders that would boost the economic potential of both the Philippines and Hungary for the benefit of the people,” Andanar said.
Locsin also thanked the European country for its offer of technical assistance in water management, particularly the rehabilitation of Laguna Lake, as well as emergency assistance for the victims of the 2019 Jolo bombing earlier this year.
Aside from government to government interactions, Locsin also noted the “improving people to people exchanges” between the Philippines and Hungary, particularly in the fields of sports, education, and culture.
The DFA chief said the Philippines has signed several memoranda of understanding with Hungary, such as the deal between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary, which aim to enhance exchanges of athletes.
Locsin thanked Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó for the latter’s recent offer to increase the maximum number of scholarship grants to Filipino students.
“There is a deep appreciation from the Filipino scholars in Hungary and from the Philippine government, for the generous support of the Hungarian government for furthering their education,” he said.
He added that Hungary’s programs in agriculture and sustainable development, environmental science, food science, engineering, and public health are critical to the Philippines’ development.
“That said, I’m glad to say that the Philippines reaffirmed support for Hungary’s campaign for the protection of Christian minorities, which have suffered the most from religious persecution, especially in the Middle East,” he said.
“As part of our commitment to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue to achieve peace and development… These are indeed promising times for Philippine-Hungarian relations,” he said.
“For the continued success, peace, and prosperity of Hungary. To the enduring bonds of friendship and partnership between our countries and peoples,” Locsin ended his speech by urging everyone to toast for the good health and success of President János Áder and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. (PNA)