Legarda Highlights Strengthened PHL-Germany Relations in Inauguration of Chancery in Frankfurt

June 18, 2019

Senator Loren Legarda sees the continued strengthening of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Germany with the reopening of the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Frankfurt.

On June 17, Legarda was the Guest of Honor at the inauguration of the reopened PCG in Frankfurt. The event coincided with the Consulate’s celebration of the 121st anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence and the 65thanniversary of PHL-Germany bilateral relations.

Consul General Evelyn Austria-Garcia thanked Senator Legarda for her support not only for the PCG in Frankfurt but also for the Philippine diplomatic missions.

“We are honored to have with us our dearest Senator Loren Legarda, who is responsible for the reopening of this office and so many other diplomatic missions around the world,” said Austria-Garcia.

In her speech, Legarda, who was given the Award of Distinction by the European Union ambassadors in the Philippines, stressed that the reopening of the Consulate General in Frankfurt is a must. Frankfurt is a banking and commerce hub and is home to approximately 15,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Germans.

“For so long we’ve had many activities with Germany. GIZ is one of the biggest supporters and funders of our climate projects in the Philippines,” she said.

Legarda, who authored the Philippine Climate Change Act and the People’s Survival Fund Law, said that the GIZ continues to give technical and financial assistance to the Philippines for capacity building of local governments in building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities in the country, which is considered as one of the most climate-vulnerable nations in the world.

Legarda said that the two countries also share cultural relations as she noted the Dr. Jose Rizal memorabilia currently on display at the consulate. The items on display were loaned by Dr. Fritz Hack Ullmer, a German Rizalista who is the great grandson of Pastor Karl Ullmer.

The items, which include a bed, desk, cupboard, cabinet and dresser, were from the guest room of Pastor Karl that were used by Rizal, who arrived in Heidelberg in Southwest Germany in 1886 when he was only 25 years old. It is believed that Rizal finished his novel “Noli Me Tangere” using this desk.

Legarda said she is also looking forward to the exhibition of the Dr. Jose Rizal textile collection in the Philippines.

“It was in 2013 when I discovered the collection at the Berlin Ethnological Museum and since then I have been working on bringing it to the Philippines for an exhibit,” Legarda explained.

The textile collection had been donated by Rizal to his friend, Dr. Adolf Bastian, a German ethnologist and founder of the Berlin Ethnological Museum, and Mr. Rudolf Virchow, a German prehistorian and anthropologist. Among the items are handwoven textiles like piña barong and shawl, a Bagobo attire, a Mandaya baby carrier, and a Tboli abaca wrap skirt.

The Senator also shared other projects she has been supporting. Since 2016, Legarda ensured the participation of the Philippines through a country pavilion at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. There is also funding for tourism promotion activities of the Department of Tourism (DOT) office in Frankfurt; and, the Philippines participated in Ambiente 2019, the leading international consumer goods trade fair, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition, the roving textile exhibition conceptualized by Legarda with the National Museum of the Philippines, was displayed in Frankfurt in 2018. There is also a Sentro Rizal at the PCG Frankfurt.

Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition is a showcase of our handwoven and embroidered piña-seda fabrics; while Sentro Rizal is a repository of various materials relating to the promotion of Philippine history, arts, culture, language and tourism.  One of its main goals is to provide a place where children of overseas Filipino workers can learn about their heritage through cultural programs and activities.

Legarda said that other programs for this year include the Philippine Studies in Humboldt University and in Ruhr University. There is also funding for a football clinic to be done by a renowned German team who will do the training in the Philippines.

“There have been many activities relating to culture and climate between the Philippines and Germany. I think those are the two special bonds between our two nations. We have much to learn from Germany in building a country that is resilient, inclusive and sustainable, especially on how we can transition from relying much on fossil fuel to fully utilizing renewable energy,” said Legarda.

“With the reopening of the Philippine Consulate General here in Frankfurt, we hope for more good things to come between Germany and the Philippines. This is just the beginning of many more programs that will foster deeper ties,” Legarda concluded.