Manila. Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe R. Natividad urged closer cooperation with Philippine-based German organizations in view of the upcoming 60th anniversary of bilateral relations during a Special Forum hosted by the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), the German Embassy and the German Club in Makati City on 12 February 2013. Present at the event were GPCCI President Dr. Günter Matschuck, President Michael Scheile of the German Club, Christof Wegner of the German Embassy, and other guests.
Ambassador Natividad gave a presentation entitled “Moving Forward: 60 Years and Beyond – Celebrating 60 Years of Philippine-German Diplomatic Relations.” She gave an outline of developments in the political, economic, and cultural spheres of bilateral relations in recent years, and particularly since she presented her credentials to then German President Christian Wulff.
She also highlighted the concrete outcomes of the recent visit of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to the Philippines from 7-8 February, including the official statement of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario and the German Foreign Minister.
“During the bilateral discussions, SFA del Rosario and FM Westerwelle gave their full support and commitment to the many ongoing projects and activities in our fast-moving relations,” she said.
Ambassador Natividad conveyed developments in defense cooperation, including the bilateral defense consultations with the German Ministry of Defense. She also mentioned other cooperation frameworks in the pipeline – the conclusion of negotiations on a Philippine-German Double Taxation Agreement, and the upcoming negotiations on social security agreement with the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. She discussed the possible cooperation in labor which will pave the way for the entry of skilled Filipino nurses into the German labor market. Finally, she informed the audience that inaugural bilateral political consultations will take place for the first time in Manila in 2013.
She also thanked members of the GPCCI and the German Club for their support to the economic diplomacy activities of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, citing individual members who have given testimonials of their successful business transactions during investment roadshows throughout Germany. She wished the GPCCI well in its efforts to be an accredited business chamber.
“I would like to thank GPCCI and its roster of members – particularly Mr. Gerald Frielinghaus, President and CEO of Lufthansa Technik Philippines, and Mr. Claus Sudhoff, President and CEO of CS Garments, Mr Klaus Preschle of Professionals Asia, Mr. Marcel Rüdiger of Datronicsoft Inc, Mr Gerd Hauer of Bosch Communications Center, and Mr. Detlev von Ramm of Continental Temic – for sharing your experience in doing business in the Philippines and your reasons for choosing the Philippines as your investment destination.”
Towards the end of her speech, Ambassador Natividad urged the members and guests to become the Embassy’s partners in celebrating the 60th year of bilateral diplomatic relations participating in key projects such as the publication and launching of a commemorative book on Philippine-German relations, maritime training, and in the pioneering efforts to reform education in the Philippines.
She urged the audience to support President Benigno S. Aquino’s K to 12 program, particularly on the dual training system component. “In 2016, 800,000 school children will enter Grade 11 instead of going directly to university. I am here now to encourage your companies, as part of your corporate social responsibility program, to do a “Porsche” and participate in this pioneering program and offer places for trainee-students in your respective companies. Some of your companies already accept older Filipino students as On the Job Trainees or OJTs. Starting in 2016, you will have a lot more Filipino students ready to learn from you how to work according to German quality standards.”
The event concluded with robust commitments from all sides for closer long-term cooperation. END