27 October 2015 - The Philippine Embassy in London successfully held the first Philippine-British Conference last October 22 at Asia House in London. The conference is the Embassy's inaugural activity in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United Kingdom in 2016, as well as in celebration of Philippine-British Friendship Day held on October 20 of every year (per Proclamation N. 1592, S. 2008).

Philippine and British participants from the government, academe, business sector, and private sector attended the conference.

In his opening remarks, Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James's Enrique A. Manalo stated that the objective of the conference was to assess and consider various ways and means on how the participants could expand on the broad range of Philippines-UK bilateral cooperation. The Joint Plan of Action (JPA) signed between the Philippines and the UK in 2012 served as a framework for the discussions and participants were encouraged to provide some ideas and measures to better implement the JPA.

The conference's keynote speaker was Mr. Stephen Lillie, Director for Asia Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (and former British Ambassador to the Philippines), who reiterated the British Government's policy of giving importance to the Asia Pacific region in recognition of its growing economy and standing in the world. He recalled that British Prime Minister David Cameron's first major visit in his second term as prime minister was to the Southeast Asian region, which demonstrated the UK's interest in that part of the world. He also highlighted various aspects of Philippine-British relations in the political, economic, tourism, educational, and cultural fields and noted the increasing cooperation in all these fields.

The participants later divided themselves into four breakout groups: 1) Political, 2) Economic and Tourism; 3) Consular and Immigration; and 4) Culture and Education.

The conference was followed by a drinks reception hosted by Ambassador Manalo. END