By Monsi A. Serrano
On the Austrian National Day, Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines Johann Brieger treated guests not just with sumptuous food, overflowing wine and beer, but also with important pieces of history for everyone to appreciate as well the congruity between Austria and the Philippines.
Ambassador Brieger underscored that the celebration of the Austrian National Day is a commemoration of Austria’s rise from the ash of World War II which is founded on the rule of law.
The envoy lamented the wanton disregard of Russia for the rule of law, respect for sovereignty, and territorial integrity when it invaded Ukraine without any provocation and led to the suffering of the world now. It resulted in inflation, skyrocketing prices of energy, supply chain disruptions, and food security among others, especially for the most vulnerable countries like the Philippines. He noted that in times like this, friends stand together and he gave an assurance that as a friend of the Philippines and Filipino people, Austria will be there for the Philippines to overcome the adversities together.
He also cited the strong ties of Austria and the Philippines and traced back from the well-documented fraternal friendship between Jose Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt. As well as the welcoming of President Manuel L, Quezon of more than 1,600 people fleeing Austria during World War II. He also mentioned Herbert Zipper, an Austrian who studied at the Viennese Academy of Music from 1923 to nine to 28 and came to the Philippines in 1939 to be one of the first abductors of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra, the Manila Symphony Orchestra was the one that provided musical performances during Austria National Day.
As Austria and the Philippines celebrate 76 years of diplomatic relations, the Filipinos living in Austria are all doing well, according to the Austrian envoy, and the Philippines will always be of strategic importance being one of the most dynamic markets in Southeast Asia.