Palacio de la Moncloa, Madrid, Spain
15 September 2014
Significant issues were discussed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain in their meeting at the Palacio de Moncloa.
President Aquino said that he is grateful that the Philippines is the only priority country in Asia that is under the Master Plan of Spanish Cooperation in 2013-2016 and added that he is looking forward to a closer cooperation between the Philippines and Spain with the signing of the extension of the bilateral development partnership of the two nations until 2017.
He thanked Prime Minister Rajoy and the people of Spain for their assistance to the victims of typhoon Yolanda as well as for their donations to the victims of the Zamboanga siege and the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.
Moreover, President Aquino thanked the Spanish government for supporting the peace initiatives of the Philippine government. He mentioned to the Chief Minister that he handed over the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to the Congress last September 10. This will be the basis for the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement.
On issues in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino expressed the country’s concern over the behavior of China in the region mentioning its reclamation activities in Johnson Reef, McKennan and Hughes Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Gaven Reef. The continued harassment of fishermen of claimant states is still an issue as well as the continued presence of Chinese vessel in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Other matters that were tackled were the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing where President Aquino affirmed the Philippines’ commitment to the European Council to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; the finalization of an Air Transport Agreement that could lead to direct flights between Manila and Madrid; and the two countries’ cooperation on combating transnational crime.
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