By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios
The 2nd Embassy Night held recently at the Hotel Okura Manila, Newport City, Pasay City brought together ambassadors and diplomats from various countries to promote their embassy’s programs in the Philippines and their cooperation with the government, NGOs, civil society, and media all aimed at uplifting the lives of Filipinos.
During the program, the European Union (EU) expressed its strong support for media freedom in the Philippines and promised to do everything to support media. Czech Ambassador Jana Sediva also launched a book, “Guy and Friends in Czech-Shatila,” which covers the history between the Czech Republic and the Philippines.
German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel mentioned how the critical role of media is constantly being challenged, and lamented that fake news and disinformation are gaining ground worldwide.
The ambassador called on everyone to counter such developments and acknowledged that ThePhilBizNews — which initiated the annual staging of the event originally dubbed as Embassy Night with the Diplomats and the Captains of Philippine Industries — is an important provider of relevant information, beyond business news.
On bilateral trade, Reiffenstuel also noted that Germany is the biggest trade partner of the Philippines among European Union member states. “Economic recovery and growth are the priorities of the Marcos administration, and Germany has a lot to offer in this regard. Renewable energy and waste management are areas where German companies have great expertise.”
She expressed satisfaction over the active and successful participation of German companies like Siemens, Bosch, or Lufthansa in economic activity in the Philippines.
For his part, Belgian Ambassador Michel Parys shared upcoming events and programs from the embassy, including the Belgian Ambassador’s Cup, a charity golf tournament on May 28, and the Belgian Trade Mission on June 5.
On top of that, the ambassador is eyeing the implementation of the Belgian Development Cooperation, a five-year program with a 15-million-euro budget given to beneficiaries. At present, the program has Belgian NGOs and 52 Filipino partners.
Apart from diplomatic cooperation, Parys said the Belgian Embassy employs academic diplomacy or academic cooperation through partnerships forged between Belgian and Philippine universities. “There are successful programs in this academic cooperation like the program for animal aquaculture and aqua feeds,” he said.
Event participants from the Embassy of India chimed in on the strong cultural ties with the Philippines and cited how yoga has promoted wellness and healthy living among Filipinos. The embassy plans to expand the number of Indian students in the Philippines and increase the exchange of students and faculty members between universities of the two countries.
Dr. Beatrice Jane Ang, Honorary Consul of Ukraine in the Philippines expressed gratitide to the international community in the Philippines and the Filipino people for the support initiatives to ensure that children who experience war do not fall behind because every child must have the right to access education and have a healthy childhood.
Ang also thanked Ambassador Jarosław Szczepankiewicz of the Embassy of Poland for his efforts to go around the country to educate the Filipino youth about the Ukraine situation, citing these efforts as “crucial to ensuring lasting peace.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss gave a heartfelt message of gratitude as he addressed ThePhilBizNews’ Embassy Night last April 26 on the occasion of Israel’s 75th Independence Day celebration.
Fluss said he takes pride in representing Israel in the Philippines and delights in promoting partnerships and cooperation in the areas of agriculture, water management, and cybersecurity.
Recently, the embassy opened a visa application center in Cebu to improve visa services for Filipinos wanting to visit Israel. “I’m very proud of opening the office in the city (of Cebu) and we have a special program and a special place in our hearts for the Philippines,” said Fluss
Likewise, the Embassy of South Korea is actively promoting cultural exchanges, Korean language education, and tourism in the country. They are also working to increase bilateral trade and investment and to encourage Korean companies to invest in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Laures Beaufils, and UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to the Philippines and ASEAN Ambassador Richard Graham also graced ThePhilBizNews Embassy Night to highlight the UK’s growing interest in increasing trade with the Philippines.
Beaufils underscored the growing trade and investment opportunities between the UK and the Philippines, particularly in disaster preparedness, renewable energy, and cyber and maritime security. She also mentioned London Tech Week and recent investments by Diageo and Inchcape PLC.
The ambassadors emphasized their ambition for increased trade and engagement with the new administration to respond to their priorities.
Sharing their respective embassy’s programs in the Philippines is a component of Embassy Night which ThePhilBizNews intends to be a tradition of the annual affair which was held this year in partnership with Hotel Okura Manila.
Monsi Alfonso Serrano, publisher of ThePhilBizNews which organizes the annual event, said the envoys’ messages are relevant to the Philippines and global business and peace as they highlight the importance of media freedom, economic growth, and cultural exchanges.
“The involvement of various foreign chambers and the captains of industries in the Philippines in the Embassy Night indicates the potential for expanding business and investment relations between the Philippines and other countries,” said Serrano.
“If there are any takeaways from tonight’s event, it’s the need for cooperation and partnerships between countries to address global challenges such as fake news, climate change, and cybersecurity threats,” he added.
Overall, the Embassy Night serves as a platform for promoting mutual understanding, cooperation, and partnerships among countries, which is essential for global peace and prosperity.
More than 10 ambassadors, representatives of 30 embassies and various foreign chambers in the country joined prime movers of big companies at the Embassy Night.
Hotel Okura Manila General Manager Jan Marshall said that with the attendance of about 200 guests, it was the grandest event for VIPs the hotel has ever hosted since opening at ResortsWorld in April last year.
Jerome Ong, CEO of CDO Foodspehere lauded the event as an occasion for the different foreign chambers – like the American Chamber of Commerce, British Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Nordic Chamber of Commerce– to be updated on developments happening in the different industries in the country.
Adeline Capindig, Marketing Director of Hotel Okura Manila, said many of the guests were also given a tour of the hotel’s luxury facilities and unique rooms.
“We really want to showcase what we have to offer, and their very own experience says a lot about who we are and what makes us set apart from other hotels,” said Capindig.
Watch the video highlights of the 2nd Embassy Night: