By Michaela del Callar
MANILA, Dec. 5 (PNA) -– Hungary is re-opening its embassy in the Philippines, signalling the European nation’s interest to build stronger ties with Manila.
The re-establishment of a Hungarian chancery is among Foreign Minister János Martonyi’s top agenda in his three-day official visit to the country, where he will meet Philippine counterpart, Secretary Albert del Rosario this weekend to discuss key bilateral issues.
Over the years, Hungary’s presence is limited to consulate headed by Consul Alfonso Yuchengco III.
Martonyi, who arrived in Manila Thursday, is the first Hungarian Foreign Minister to visit the Philippines, a Department of Foreign Affairs statement on Thursday said.
Martonyi will also meet Vice President Jejomar Binay and Commissioner Patricia Licuanan to discuss wide-ranging bilateral issues such as Hungary’s cooperation in the implementation of the Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation program, partnership in higher education, trade, investments and cultural cooperation.
He will discuss with Foreign Undersecretary Evan Garcia the details of the Hungarian embassy’s re-opening, which coincides with this year’s 40th anniversary of its relations with the Philippines.
Hungary was one of the first countries to offer humanitarian assistance to the Philippines following the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda, which killed nearly 5,700 people and rendered thousands homeless.
Philippines-Hungary relations have enjoyed active exchange of trade while investments remained very minimal, the DFA said.
Total trade between the two countries for 2012 is at $ 156.5 million. Products traded are food, beverage, components, semi-conductors, electronic data processing, pharmaceuticals, metal automotive parts, petrochemicals, intermediate and fabricated products.
Tourism arrivals from Hungary are at a dismal rate with less than a thousand Hungarian visitors to the Philippines in 2012.
Manila said there is a great potential in increasing tourism exchanges between the two countries as Hungary upgrades with diplomatic presence in the Philippines. (PNA)