Strong PH-Hungary cooperation in agri, water management eyed

MANILA -- The top diplomats of Hungary and the Philippines have sought to increase Budapest and Manila's cooperation in agriculture and water management.

During a bilateral meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Friday, Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said these could serve as main areas of cooperation between the two nations.

With Hungary's export to the Philippines reaching 71 percent in the first 11 months of 2018 alone and its focus on Southeast Asia as part of their Eastern Opening policy, Szijjarto is optimistic that trade between the two states will further increase in the following years.

The food industry and water management could be the flagship areas for exports, he said during a joint press conference with Locsin.

At the same time, Locsin relayed Manila's gratitude to Budapest for its support to the Christian communities and its donation to the victims of the recent bombings in Jolo, Sulu.

Szijjarto said the assistance is to express Hungary's solidarity with the Philippines and signify its commitment to the global fight against Islamic extremism that had been a hotbed for terrorism.

Hungary was among the first to offer assistance and provide 10 million forints (about PHP1.89 million) in emergency aid to help the injured and the families of the victims last January.

Prior to his bilateral meeting with Szijjarto, Locsin gave a lecture on Philippine foreign policy at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest, where he explained the administration's campaign against illegal drugs as a renewal of the country's "solemn responsibility to protect the law-abiding against the lawless by any means efficient."

"Rather than putting states in the dock as presumptively guilty of human rights violations, we might seriously consider invoking instead the great power -- and therefore the great responsibility -- of states to protect human rights and punish their violation," he said in a speech.

"No serious state will violate human rights to govern. So why not ask states to help protect human rights -- foremost among which is the right to be safe from crime. Do not presume to threaten states with accountability for a tough approach to crushing crime," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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