August 31, 2011
Germany Focuses Development Aid on the
A delegation of German parliamentarians who are members of the
Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development
the Philippines on August 26 to 31, 2011. The visit followed shortly
Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer came to Manila on August 4 to 6
The arrivals of Germany’s important leaders in the country
signal that the Philippines is starting to attract the attention
of Europe’s largest economy.
One member of the delegation was Helga Daub
of the Free Democratic Party
(FDP). The group visited Mindanao as part of its program. Asked
if the trip to southern Philippines was to explore how Germany
could assist in building peace in Mindanao, Daub
had more to say: “We came not only for that reason. We also
want to help in terms of education, health care and poverty
alleviation.” Daub, who is a development expert,
has lobbied for similar issues in Germany. FDP, who is in coalition
with the government, recently passed the Medical Care Structure
Law that ensures the presence of doctors in rural areas.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) Philippine
Office that is connected with the FDP, hosted a meeting with liberal
partners for Daub. Political Affairs Undersecretary Chito
Gascon, Ateneo Human
Rights Center Acting Executive Director Arpee Santiago,
and Philippine Economic
Society Vice President Peter U briefed Daub
on the developments in the Philippines under a liberal government.
There may be areas for improvement but there remained optimism
especially with President Aquino’s platform of good governance.
“The meeting was very valuable. It is important not only
to read news on papers but to hear stories from real people. The
FNF partners made me understand the political, social, and economic
situation in the Philippines,” said Daub.
The delegation was also scheduled to meet with Secretary Leila
de Lima of the Department
of Justice and visit a juvenile prison.
“The Philippines is becoming a central country in Southeast
Asia. The world is starting to see the potentials of the Philippines
and this is because of an honest government,” expressed
Jules Maaten, FNF Philippines Country Director.