PHILIPPINE CONSUL GENERAL IN LUXEMBOURG CELEBRATES PHILIPPINE NATIONAL DAY
Philippine Consul General (ad honorem) for Luxembourg Mr. Alain Kinsch, Country Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Luxembourg, together with Her Excellency, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Victoria S. Bataclan, hosted around two hundred (200) Luxembourg government officials, business and trade people as well as diplomats from the different missions represented in Luxembourg to a reception in celebration of the 118th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence at Cercle Cité in Luxembourg on 16 June 2016.
In their individual speeches, Consul General Kinsch and Ambassador Bataclan highlighted the friendly relations which have existed between the two countries for the past seventy (70) years. Similar to Belgium, it is also the 70th year of Luxembourg-Philippine relations.
Luxembourg has always been supportive of Philippine initiatives particularly on the search for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes based on international law, specifically under UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea).
It will be recalled that Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario visited Luxembourg on July 2013 to renew bilateral ties with Luxembourg and promote trade and investment between the two countries. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn visited the Philippines in 2008.
In his speech, Consul General Kinsch cited the signing of the Philippines-Luxembourg Social Security Agreement (SSA) on May 2015 which provided for some 500 Filipino workers in Luxembourg and Filipino seafarers on board Luxembourg-flagged vessels to aggregate their contributions and receive continuous social protection whether in the Philippines or in Luxembourg.
Consul General Kinsch also expressed his appreciation to the ‘vibrant’ Filipino community in Luxembourg which to him is an expression of solidarity and concrete support for the Filipinos in the Philippines. Such Filipino community includes Filipino women married to Luxembourg nationals and the 164 Filipinos working in Luxembourg (according to STATEC, the government statistics service of Luxembourg). Around 30 Filipinos are employed as accountants in the various financial institutions in Luxembourg such as Ernst & Young, Swiss Re Europe Holdings Inc., Capita Asset Services, Prologis Luxembourg etc.
Ambassador Bataclan took the opportunity to encourage Luxembourg officials and business people to send another Mission to the Philippines, similar to the Economic Mission of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce to the Philippines in November 2015 and to the one which Belgium will be having in the year 2017. She also spoke personally with the Chairman of E&Y Luxembourg and invited him to conduct a team-building activity of E&Y executives in the Philippines. As in previous occasions, the Ambassador took every chance to promote the Philippines as an investment and tourist destinations.
Consul General Kinsch also took the celebration of the 118th Anniversary of Philippine Independence and the 70 Years of Philippine-Luxembourg relations as the occasion to host and to feature world-renowned pianist Dr. Raul Sunico at a Private Concert at the E&Y Auditorium of the very new E&Y building headquarters along Kennedy Road in Luxembourg.
In his Remarks, the E&Y Chief Executive Officer, said that he is presenting this Concert because the (Philippine) Ambassador has always reminded him that it is not enough to promote business relations alone, but it would also provide additional benefits to promote cultural relations between the Philippines and Luxembourg.
Dr. Sunico delighted the audience with his heartwarming renditions of Prelude in C# Minor, op. 3 no 2; Aragon; Etude in E, op. 10 no. 3; Polonaise in A-flat, op. 53; Liebestraum; Liebestod; Bato sa Buhangin; Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan; and Rhapsody in Blue.
Dr. Sunico is the current President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Dean of the UST Conservatory of Music.
PH Embassy in Brussels hosts Filipino Community Celebration of 155th Birth Anniversary of Rizal
On 19 June 2016, the Philippine Embassy joined the Filipino Community, including the Knights of Rizal (KOR) from various chapters all over Belgium, in celebrating the 155th birthday of Philippine National Hero, Dr Jose RIzal.
Speaking on behalf of Ambassador Victoria S Bataclan, Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul General Alan L Deniega welcomed nearly 80 guests at the Philippine Embassy in Brussels, among who are the Filipino and Belgian leaders and members of the Alst Chapter, Brussels Chapter, Charleroi Chapter, Diamond Chapter, and El Filibusterismo Belgium Chapter of the KOR, as well as the leaders and members of Kababaihang Rizalista and Las Damas de Rizal.
ConGen Deniega noted the welcome and hospitality Dr Rizal received in Belgium. Dr Rizal spent some months in Belgium, including Brussels and Ghent, where he continued to write articles for La Solidaridad and eventually concluded his second seminal novel, El Filibusterismo. This year is especially significant not only because of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Belgium, but also because of the 125th anniversary of the publication of the El Filibusterismo in Ghent. The Embassy in partnership with the KOR is currently preparing for a commemorative conference on Dr Rizal in September in Ghent. Renowned Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo will be among the speakers.
A floral offering was conducted on the grounds of the Embassy, followed by a programme of fellowship and affirmation to the ideals and principles of Dr Rizal. A Capella Manila, a choral group based in the Philippines, joined in the celebrations and presented a repertoire of contemporary and traditional Filipino songs.
SUNICO & A CAPPELLA MANILA FEATURED AT INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION IN BRUSSELS
The Philippine Embassy in Brussels, led by Her Excellency Ambassador Victoria S. Bataclan, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union (EU), provided guests with a double treat as the Embassy presented world-renowned pianist Dr. Raul C. Sunico and the choral group A Cappella Manila, in a mini-concert during the Philippine National Day celebration at the Panoramic Hall of the Square Brussels Meeting Centre on 15 June 2016.
Belgian government officials, officials from the different EU institutions, diplomats from the different Embassies/Missions in Belgium, business and trade people, leaders of the different Filipino community organizations in Belgium, and friends of the Philippines numbering around three-hundred listened in awe to Dr. Sunico's rendition of Liebestraum, Bato sa Buhangin, Aragon, Prelude in C#Minor, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan and Rhapsody in Blue and to A Cappella Manila's Eres Tu, La Rose Complete, Heal the World, Iisang Bangka, Lipad ng Pangarap and Tagumpay nating Lahat while savouring an array of carefully-selected Filipino dishes which includes tapa and ukoy, served with San Miguel Beer.
In her Message, Ambassador Bataclan cited the Filipinos' love for freedom and found it fitting that they are celebrating the 118th Anniversary of Philippine Independence with Belgian friends with whom they are also celebrating 70 Years of Philippine-Belgium diplomatic relations.
Another highlight of the event was a chocolate piece symbolizing Philippine-Belgium friendship created by chocolatier John Soriano.
Dr. Sunico's performances in France, Germany, Brussels and Luxembourg were made possible with the generous support and assistance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
The A Cappella Manila, on their 6th European Goodwill Concert Tour, performed in The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Belgium, apart from the National Day reception performance, they were at the Shrine of Infant Jesus in Brussels and the Knights of Rizal (KOR) commemoration of the 155th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal.
This year's Philippine Independence Day celebration in Brussels was likewise made possible with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Philippine Department of Tourism office in Frankfurt, Germany; the Office of the Agricultural Attaché in Brussels, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Brussels.
In addition, the Philippine Embassy organized an economic briefing, The Philippines - Your Business Partner in Asia-Pacific, for Belgian officials and members of the business sector prior to the National Day celebration. The briefing, held in preparation for the Belgian Economic Mission to the Philippines in May 2017, was attended by representatives from the Federal Public Service - Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation; the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency; Brussels Invest & Export; Flanders Investment & Trade; Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency; the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of key Belgian cities; and a number of Belgian companies.
Ambassador Bataclan in her welcome remarks said the Belgian Economic Mission is a testament to the longstanding friendship between the Philippines and Belgium, and a vote of confidence in the strength of the Philippine economy.
MEDIA STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE PHILIPPINES AFTER THE SPECIAL ASEAN-CHINA FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING IN KUNMING, YUNNAN PROVINCE, CHINA HELD ON 14 JUNE 2016
The Philippines participated in the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China on 14 June 2016.
During the meeting, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers noted that 2016 is a milestone for ASEAN-China relations as it marks the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations. They looked forward to working together with China to bring ASEAN-China cooperation to the next level. They agreed to enhance ASEAN-China cooperation on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual benefit and shared responsibility in the interest of achieving national and regional prosperity.
On the South China Sea, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers:
had a candid exchange with the Chinese Foreign Minister in view of the recent developments on the ground;
expressed their serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and which may have the potential to undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea;
stressed the importance of maintaining peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
emphasized the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would further complicate the situation or escalate tensions, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law;
articulated their commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the UNCLOS and the UN Charter;
emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation, which may raise tensions in the South China Sea;
reiterated their firm commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and while noting the momentum and new phase of consultations, urged the early adoption of an effective Code of Conduct;
Pursuant to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and pending the early adoption of an effective Code of Conduct, stressed the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures that would enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties.
When the arbitration case was raised, the Philippines’ reply underscored that arbitration is among the legal and diplomatic processes promoting the rule of law in the region, and is fully consistent with the DOC and the region’s efforts to peacefully resolve the disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Charter. END