Spain looks forward to celebrating 500 years of PH Christianization in 2021, says envoy
CEBU CITY –– Despite clashes over some issues, Spain believed that their relations with the administration of President Duterte remains “fine, good, and improving.”
The Spanish government is looking forward to participating in the activities leading to the 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines in 2021 and the commemoration of the first circumnavigation of the world, describing it as an important feat in the history of mankind.
Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas said while they may have “disagreements” with President Duterte, the Spanish government remains supportive of the government’s projects, including the “Build, Build, Build” program of the administration.
“The relation with the Duterte administration is fine even though we have some disagreements on different points. I would say that these relations are fine and are improving,” said Moragas in an interview during the Cine Europa film festival held at the SM City Cebu last Friday.
Spain is among the countries that called for an investigation into the Philippines’ drug war, citing possible human rights violations.
President Duterte earlier said he would not support the 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the country, saying it also commemorates the arrival of the Spaniards who conquered the Philippines for over three centuries.
Moragas said the Philippines and Spain trade relations, however, are on the rise. He said there are increased imports and exports like in the brandy and liquor sectors as well as the textile and services industries.
These trade relations are growing each year, he added.
In infrastructure development, Moragas said the Acciona Construccion is helping build the third Cebu-Mactan bridge.
In other parts of the country, he said they were also working on water treatment facilities and railways.
In the upcoming celebrations of the 500th year of the Christianization of the Philippines, Moragas said their country and the European Union are closely coordinating with the national organizing committees that are preparing for the celebrations.
“We are working with the national committee that has been set up. The Philippines is celebrating the arrival which is in two years (from now). We (Spain) are commemorating the whole trip that started 500 years ago in Spain,” Moragas added.
He believed that Spain should be present and ready to play a role in the commemoration activities here as their country is also celebrating the first circumnavigation of the world, part of which was the establishment of Christianity in the Philippines.
“We will talk with Philippine authorities to have a common celebration of that. We cannot avoid the fact that Christianization and religion started here 500 years ago. Now the Philippines is one of the most Catholic and Christian countries in Asia and the world,” Moragas said./lzb
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