Spain supports Philippines in China territorial dispute
By FFE PH News Staff
During the observance of the 11th Philippine-Spanish Friendship day last 30 July, the Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines, Jorge Manuel Domecq said the Spanish government seeks stronger defence ties with the Philippines and supports the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes involving its former colony and China.
In a speech at the new municipal hall in Baler Aurora, the Spanish Ambassador said the Philippines is a permanent priority country for Spanish cooperation projects and remains the only priority country in Asia.
The Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day is being held annually since 2003 by virtue of Republic Act No. 9187 or the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Act authored by former Sen. Edgardo Angara and his son Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara. The 11th Philippine-Spanish Friendship day coincided with the 114th anniversary of the “Siege of Baler”
The elder Angara said the annual event commemorates and preserves centuries-old friendship and strong historical and cultural links between the Philippines and Spain. He added that the two nations “share a special bond, a partnership which can be directed toward increased investment, technology transfer and intellectual exchange.”
“Today’s celebration will showcase how our relations with Spain have become better and stronger,” said Angara, chairman of the Philippines-Spain Parliamentary Friendship.
Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day gives due recognition of the day when then President Emilio Aguinaldo acclaimed the gallantry and fidelity of the Spanish soldiers besieged in Baler Church in 1898. The siege was among the last and most significant episodes of the Philippine war of independence against Spain.
On June 27, 1898, 54 Spanish soldiers led by Capt. Enrique delas Morenas, holed up at the Church of Baler in their last stand against the revolution. They endured an 11-month siege, unaware that the war had long ended.
Only when 2nd Lt. Saturnino Martin Cerezo read the Spanish newspaper El Imparcial that announced that the war was over did the Spaniards surrender.
Only 33 survivors emerged from the church on June 2, 1899. The sympathetic people of Baler, led by Teodorico Luna Novicio, gave them food, clothing and medicine. Aguinaldo also decreed that they be treated as friends not prisoners.