Poland Prime Minister Marek Belka in the Philippines
|Poland Prime Minister Marek Belka at the right and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo|
On July 6, 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Poland Prime Minister Marek Belka signed an agreement expanding Philippine-Polish relations to highlight the latter's visit to Manila.
It is said to be the first visit of a Polish leader in both countries’ bilateral relations. President Arroyo personally thanked him for his interest to do business in the Philippines.
Speech of Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Philippines
During the Official Dinner hosted by the President in Honor of Prime Minister Marek Belka and Madame Krystyna Belka
His Excellency Prime Minister Belka; Madame Belka; Senate President Drilon; Speaker and Mrs. De Venecia; Secretary and Mrs. Romulo; Secretary Ermita; Philippine officials; members of the diplomatic corps; members of the Polish delegation; members of the business community; ladies and gentlemen:[Delivered at the Rizal Hall, Malacañang, July 6, 2005]
The Republics of the Philippines and Poland maybe oceans apart but with have a kinship in history, politics, religion and now business. As two predominantly catholic countries, our links to the late Pope John Paul II are one of abiding faith and piety. One whom the Polish people loved so much but also one who loved the Filipino people so much. Pope John Paul II visited our nation twice, in 1981 and 1995.
On both occasions, the Pope was so moved to tears by the spontaneous outpouring of love and devotion by the Filipino crowds, five million people, the biggest in history. He was going to visit the Philippines for the third time but sadly failing health and eventual passage from this earth precluded it.
Poland and the Philippines are also bound by glorious moments in the struggle for freedom. Filipinos fought for independence from colonial rule in 1898 and also restored democracy through a peaceful power revolution in 1986. Across the world, the world was witness to the unwavering courage of the Polish people during the Warsaw Gheto uprising in the spring of 1943. During the long and bitter cold war the Polish people also laid claim to their own version of people power as the heroic Lech Walesa and his solidarity union led a peaceful transition to democracy. Solidarity started its fight from the shipyards of Gdansk. And today Gdansk, which is now Gdynia, is where a Filipino entrepreneur, Mr. Ricky Razon operates a hundred million-dollar container terminal port.
I thank the government of the Republic of Poland for hosting this Philippine company, and I would like to see in the near future and so does His Excellency Polish companies doing more business in the Philippines. For instance, I am happy with the interest of Poland in our mining industry. And I am also extremely happy that Poland is willing to put up a consortium to do the feasibility study and seek the financing for our railroad to Bicol.
I thank Poland also for the 140 million-dollar accommodation for our security and defense and police equipment.
All of these great notes on the first visit of an Eastern European head of government to the Philippines, I wish to propose a toast to the continued good health and success of His Excellency Prime Minister Belka and Madame Belka; to the continued prosperity of President Aleksander Kwasniewski and the people of the Republic of Poland; and finally to the lasting friendship founded on mutual respect and productive endeavor.
Philippine Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines