Ambassador Carlos C. Salinas graced the formal opening of the Philippine Consulate in Bilbao, Spain, last November 20, 2014, at the premises of the historic club, Sociedad Bilbaina. Among the guests at the event were the Mayor of Bilbao (Mayor Ibon Areso), other local government officials, members of the consular corps and of the business community, as well as key leaders of the Filipino community in Bilbao.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Ambassador Salinas highlighted the remarkable progress that the Philippines has made in recent years, especially in the area of economic growth. He underscored the Philippines’ dramatic transition from being considered “the sick man of Asia” to being hailed as “the miracle of Asia.” The Ambassador also spoke of the Philippines’ desire to deepen its trade/economic and cultural relations with the local government of Bilbao and with the greater Basque government itself, and expressed his confidence that the newly appointed Philippine Honorary Consul in Bilbao, Ms. Susana Palomino Bilbao, will play a big role in making this come true.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Madame Isabelita Salinas, Consul General Emmanuel R. Fernandez and his spouse, Mrs. Alicia K. Fernandez.
On the sidelines of the event, Ambassador Salinas and Consul General Fernandez met with Mr. Luis Canada Vicinay (President of the Fundacion Novia Salcedo) and other officers of the said foundation. Mr. Vicinay presented to the Ambassador his foundation’s campaign to convince the United Nations General Assembly to declare the years spanning 2019 to 2028 the “Youth Employment Decade.” His foundation believes that the move will encourage everyone from the public to the private sector — including NGOs, governments and other entities — to address the growing problem of youth unemployment. Mr. Vicinay then sought the Ambassador’s assistance in obtaining the support of the Philippine government for the Fundacion Novia Salcedo’s campaign. He recalled the spearheading role that the Philippine Government played (through its Permanent Representatives to the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome and the United Nations in New York) in convincing the UN to declare the year 2014 as The International Year of Family Farming. He expressed his hope that the Philippine Government will play the same role with regard to their campaign to convince the UN to declare 2019 to 2028 as The Youth Employment Decade.
The Ambassador capped his official visit to Bilbao with a call the following day (November 21) on the President of the Basque Government, the Honorable Inigo Urkullo Rentaria, at the latter’s office in Bilbao. The Ambassador was accompanied by Consul General Fernandez and Honorary Consul Palomino, while President Urkullo was joined by Ms. Leyre Madariaga, his Director for Foreign Affairs. Among other things, the two officials discussed the status of Filipinos in Bilbao and in the Basque country in general. They also discussed the areas of possible cooperation that the Philippines and the Basque country could undertake.
The newly opened Philippine Consulate in Bilbao covers the autonomous communities of the Basque Country, Cantabria and La Rioja, as well as the provinces of Burgos and Palencia. Honorary Consul Susana Palomino is an economist and educator who used to serve as Chair of the Commission on Marketing and Product Development at UITP (the International Association of Public Transport in Brussels) and Senior Manager at Price Waterhouse.