27 June 2012 - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced today that Her Majesty Queen Sofia of the Kingdom of Spain will undertake a four-day visit to the country as an official guest of the Philippine Government.
The Queen is due to arrive in Manila on July 02 to personally inspect various development cooperation projects that are being implemented with funding assistance from the Spanish government through its development cooperation agency, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo or AECID.
“The upcoming visit of Queen Sofia is a reaffirmation of Spain’s commitment towards addressing the myriad developments and challenges the Philippines and the rest of the world are facing today,” the Department said.
“It is a positive reflection of the Philippines’ long-standing and special partnership with Spain, most especially in the area of development cooperation,” the Department added.
In 2011, the Spanish government’s official development assistance to the Philippines amounted to a total of 28.9 million Euros in grants and loans. The implemented programs and projects are aligned with the development priorities of the Aquino Administration particularly in the areas of democratic governance and citizen’s participation, basic social needs, environment, culture and development, gender and development, and the prevention of conflict and peace-building.
Queen Sofia will visit AECID-assisted projects in Manila and in the provinces, as well as meet with officials of implementing agencies and beneficiary sectors. Aside from these activities, her official program includes a visit to the National Library, the National Museum and the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
Capping her visit will be a private audience in Malacañan with President Benigno S. Aquino III, which will be followed by a banquet hosted by the President in honor of Queen Sofia and her delegation.
Philippines-Spain relations have steadily grown through the years marked by sustained cooperation in the fields of education, culture, sports, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, energy, health, labor, social security, defense and mutual legal assistance, among others. In 2011, Spain ranked as the Philippines’ 28th largest trading partner with total bilateral trade amounting to US$329.6 million.
Queen Sofia will be accompanied during her visit by Spain’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jesus Gracia Aldaz, Chief of Secretariat of the Royal Household of Her Majesty General Jose Cabrera Garcia, and other high-ranking officials from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.