Phl, Italy sign air agreement


By Pia-Lee Brago | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Italy have signed an air services agreement that aims to facilitate and promote the expansion of regional and international air service opportunities for the two countries.

The agreement was signed during the first Philippines-Italy political consultations in Rome to further boost bilateral relations.

The political consultations were led by senior officials from both countries. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo led the Philippine delegation, while the Italian side was headed by Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benedetto della Vedova.

Manalo was joined by Philippine Ambassador to Italy Domingo Nolasco, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Maria Cleofe Natividad, and other Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials.

The historic consultations commenced with the signing of the Air Services Agreement between the Philippine government and the Italian government.  

Ambassador Nolasco signed for the Philippines, while Vice Minister Della Vedova signed for Italy.

“This first meeting of the bilateral consultations mechanism is a milestone event for our countries,” Manalo said. “There is untapped potential in our multifaceted relations and we should identify sectors that our governments can develop.”

During the meeting, the Philippine side provided information on economic opportunities in the Philippines that Italian companies may want to explore such as infrastructure, trade, and agriculture. The Philippine delegation also shared that the Philippines is undergoing a golden age of infrastructure with the government’s Build Build Build program.

The two sides agreed to develop more economic relations by bringing together Philippine and Italian businesses and exchanging more information on commercial opportunities. They also committed to increase cultural and educational cooperation in the future.

Manalo also had a bilateral meeting with della Vedova where they discussed the general state of bilateral relations. Both sides welcomed the bilateral consultations mechanism as a framework that assures regular engagement between Philippine and Italian officials.

The Italian vice minister acknowledged the presence of the Filipino community in Italy and their important contribution to the Italian society.

At the sidelines of the political consultations, Manalo delivered a presentation on ASEAN-EU Relations: Prospects and Challenges, at the LUISS School of Government in Rome. The audience comprised of graduate students and members of the diplomatic corps.

“We hope that this first meeting will help build momentum to strengthen our longstanding relations. With the mechanism in place, our diplomats would be able to meet regularly to assess and review Philippine-Italian relations and discuss priority areas of cooperation,” Nolasco said.

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