Australia’s Message on the Occasion of the
Philippines Independence Day 2014
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell
On the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Philippines, it is my pleasure to convey to the people of the Philippines, and its Government, my warmest wishes, together with those of the Australian Government and people.
Today, the 12th of June, is a day of national celebration and pride for all Filipinos – remembering the day in 1898 when independence was declared.
Australia and the Philippines share a warm and close friendship. Our common democratic history is a foundation of this friendship, encompassing strong economic and trade links, defence and regional cooperation, development assistance and growing people-to-people links.
In this, the 116th year of independence, there is a great deal for which the Philippines can be proud. President Aquino continues to lead the country towards better standards of governance, towards prosperity and stability across the Philippines. Australia supports these goals. Indeed, Australia’s priority in our many areas of cooperation with the Philippines is closely aligned with the President’s objectives to help make them a reality.
Education is a key focus of our development assistance, most recently with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launching a major program supporting the introduction of the K to 12 Basic Education Program across the Philippines in Manila in February. We hope the impact of this program will help transform the lives of Filipino children now and into the future.
The signing of the peace agreement to establish the Bangsamoro in southern Mindanao in March this year is another historic milestone for the Philippines. Australia is pleased to be providing continuing support to this process.
Peace and stability in our region is an important priority for both Australia and the Philippines. The maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded trade and freedom of navigation is a legitimate interest for both of us.
In the past year the Philippines has faced a number of national disasters, including the Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda. Filipinos have again demonstrated to the world their courage and resilience in responding to these disasters. Australia, like many other countries, has been deeply saddened by the great losses and damage suffered as a result of these events. As a friend, we have been pleased to provide prompt and ongoing assistance to the process of recovery and reconstruction.
It is fitting today also to recognise the many Filipinos working overseas. Australia is now home to around 250,000 Filipinos and the contribution they make to their communities is highly valued. This figure continues to grow, as does the number of Australians now living in the Philippines, and this underlines the strengthening ties between our two countries.
In view of all this, let me convey again my congratulations to the Philippines on your Day of Independence.
Australia, its government and people, stand with you to recognise your many achievements of the last year in particular, and look forward to continuing our close relations in the years ahead. Mabuhay!