By William Casis
FilAm Star Correspondent
Hungary has opened a EUR 510 million credit facility for Philippine-Hungarian businesses, said Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, also the president of the Philippines-Hungary Parliamentary Friendship Association of the Senate, who led an inter-parliamentary visit to Hungary last week.
Zubiri said this will have a particular focus on water treatment, especially for post-disaster situations and agricultural modernization.
The partnership in trade, Zubiri said was among the fruitful outcomes of the visit to Hungary.
In the area of education, for one, Zubiri said the Commission on Higher Education has partnered with Hungary’s Ministry of Human Capacities to open the Stipendium Hungarian Scholarship Program to Filipino students for the years 2018 to 2020.
This program will provide scholarships to 35 students every year.
In his meetings with Deputy Speaker István Jakab and the Hungarian members of the Association — the Honorable Andrea Varga-Damm, Madame Zsuzsanna Gyurcsíkné Holop and Chairman Zsolt Csenger-Zalan — Zubiri thanked Hungary for voicing support for the Philippines at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“At a time when the European Union has been quite critical of some of our domestic policies, Hungary stood by us,” he said.
“When other countries moved to adopt a UNHRC resolution mandating a comprehensive review of our Government’s program against the proliferation of illegal drugs, Hungary was the only country in Europe that voted against it.”
“By that action, you honored the Philippines’ sovereign right to execute our policies in the way we deem best for our people. For that, we are grateful.”
The trip, which included a meeting with the senators’ Hungarian counterparts and a courtesy call on the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, was made in line with the Association’s goals of strengthening inter-parliamentary ties between the two nations and continuing their 46 years of formal diplomatic relations.
The recent reconstitution of the Philippines-Hungary Parliamentary Friendship Association is very much in line with concerted efforts of both the Philippines and Hungary to re-establish bilateral relations and explore greater avenues of cooperation.
The Association’s renewed activity follows Hungary’s historic decision two years ago to once more open its Embassy in Manila after 22 years of absence.
Some areas of exchange that Zubiri is eyeing are agriculture, water management, education, tourism and culture and even sports.