MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino ambassador was the first envoy to be received by the new Basque president, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The DFA said Philippine Ambassador to Spain Antonio Lagdameo met with new Basque Lehendakari (President) Patxi López in Vitoria last July 9.
"Ambassador Lagdameo is the first foreign envoy to be received by President López who assumed the Basque presidency on the first week of May. Ambassador Lagdameo briefed President López of ongoing (i.e. academic exchange, deployment of Filipino health workers, Palawan development project) and proposed projects (fishery project in Casiguran, Aurora) between the two countries," the DFA said on its website (www.dfa.gov.ph).
Lagdameo also extended an invitation to the Basque leader to visit the Philippines in the near future.
President López expressed strong interest in and support for the efforts being made by the Philippine Embassy in Madrid in intensifying Philippine-Basque relations, said the DFA.
The Philippines and the Basque Country, an autonomous region in northern Spain, have developed strong and active relations in recent years.
In December 2007, President Arroyo made a historic visit to the Basque Country to strengthen the economic, cultural and technical cooperation between the Philippines and the Basque Country.
"The Basque Country holds a special place in Philippine society. The Basque people contributed greatly to the political, economic and social development of the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period," the DFA said.
Basque names are all over the Philippine map, with towns, cities and provinces called Anda, Garchitorena, Legazpi, Mondragón, Pamplona, Urdaneta, Zumarraga and Nueva Vizcaya.
On the other hand, many Manila streets carry Basque names – Ayala, Arlegui, Bilbao, Durango, Echague, Elizondo, Gaztambide, Goiti, Guernica, and Mendiola.
"Descendants of Basque immigrants in the Philippines continue to play a prominent role in Philippine society such as the Aboitiz, Ayala, Elizalde and Zubiri families," the DFA said. - GMANews.TV