16 July 2012 – Upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird is visiting Manila from July 16 to19.
Highlights of the Foreign Minister’s visit include a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III on July 18.
Foreign Minister Baird will also participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim will attend the event as civilian host and present the Minister with the symbolic key to the city of Manila.
Secretary del Rosario will host a dinner in honor of Minister Baird at the Peninsula Manila Hotel. Expected to attend this event are Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Philippine Ambassador to Canada Leslie Gatan, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns Jose Brillantes, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Patricia Ann V. Paez, Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Fe Agoncillo-Reyes, Philippine Consul General to Vancouver Jose Ampeso, National Defense Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop, Foreign Affairs Director for United States and Canada Senen T. Mangalile and Philippines-Canada Business Council Chairperson Dr. Mina Gabor.
Foreign Minister Baird is also invited to address a joint membership meeting of major businesses associations organized by the Makati Business Club. The Minister is expected to discuss the growing importance of Canada’s relationship with the Philippines, and broader political and economic interests in the region.
The Philippines and Canada have nurtured friendly relations sustained by trade and investments, rising tourism arrivals, labor migration and continuing cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties. Since 2010, the Philippines has been Canada’s largest source of immigrants and temporary workers. More than 842,741 Filipinos now call Canada home, comprising a mixture of former Filipinos who have acquired Canadian citizenship, permanent migrants, live-in caregivers, nurses and other professional and skilled workers.
In 2011, remittances from Filipinos in Canada amounted to US$2.07 billion or 10.3% of total remittances for the year.
This year marks the 63rd year of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Canada which was established in December 1949. The Philippines opened its Embassy in Ottawa in 1971 and Canada upgraded its consular operations in Manila to an Embassy in 1972.