By N Limlengco | The Manila Times
THE Philippines and the United Kingdom share over 75 years of diplomatic relations and throughout the years we have witnessed their shared commitment.
The interaction between these two nations go back much longer as far back to 1579 when Sir Francis Drake reached Mindanao after an almost three-year circumnavigation voyage.
For several centuries, economic interactions would further shape the relationship between the two nations with the Philippines becoming part of the East India Company and British companies. This also led the way in building up the country's transportation infrastructure, igniting its sugar boom in Central Visayas, and establishing Iloilo as an international trading port.
During the Seven Years' War, the United Kingdom occupied Manila and nearby areas stretching to as far as Cavite as part of war booty from 1762 to 1764. The Philippines was eventually handed back to Spain by virtue of the Treaty of Paris.
Fast forward to the second World War, the Philippines and the United Kingdom fought side by side and triumphed.
On July 4, 1946, formal diplomatic relations were established. Since then, both countries have worked tirelessly and closely to forge strong ties — in politics, economics, culture and its people. The outcome? A friendship between two nations that continues to grow stronger than ever.
In October of last year, the UK's Minister of State for Asia, Amanda Milling, expressed her country' s desire to grow its relationship in the Philippines and other countries in the Asean. Milling was in the country and met with Cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking officials to discuss shared interests.
These shared interests include business prospects, human rights, security in the region, Covid-19, and climate change.
Earlier this year, the Philippines and the United Kingdom once again committed to deepen its ties, especially on the economic front. At the recent third Philippines-United Kingdom Economic Dialogue held last February 9, both countries recognized the shared efforts towards boosting bilateral trade and investment.
The event was led by the Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo and Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils.
Just recently, Ambassador Beaufils paid a courtesy call to President -elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. It was at this meeting that she was able to reiterate the strong bilateral ties the two countries have.
Ambassador Beaufils has stated, "We were able to discuss areas of particular joint interests where we want to further work together and expand and broaden and deepen our collaboration. For example, as you know, the president-elect is very focused on the economy and we boosting the economy after the pandemic and we were able to discuss what the UK has been doing in that space and what more we would do support businesses, to support trade, to support investments and infrastructure in particular.'
Climate change, the Mindanao peace process, human rights, media freedom, and energy were also discussed.
As a solid indication of the ties between the two nations, the ambassador has expressed their excitement and eagerness in working with the incoming administration.