Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala arrived at Malacañang Palace on Monday afternoon for a bilateral meeting with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
Fiala, who is in the Philippines for a three-day official visit, arrived at the Palace compound past 4 in the afternoon. He is the second head of state to visit the country under the Marcos administration.
With the aim of enhancing bilateral ties, Marcos and Fiala are expected to tackle various issues of mutual interest, including defense cooperation, trade and investment, university linkages, judicial cooperation, and labor cooperation.
The two leaders are also expected to exchange their views on regional and international issues of common concern.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said Fiala's visit in the Philippines was significant as the two countries are currently preparing for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the start of the bilateral relations between Manila and Prague on October 5.
Marcos and Fiala initially met in Brussels, Belgium during the commemorative summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) in December of last year.
During that time, they discussed cooperation in the security sector, including the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the DFA said.
According to the DFA, Philippine and Czech officials convened the Joint Defense Committee for the first time in 2019.
It also said the Philippines’ ties with European states, including the Czech Republic, are "energized by mutual interests in upholding democracy
and freedom, rule of law, peace and stability and human rights."
The ties between the two countries seemed to go way back, as according to an entry in the website of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila, there were Czechoslovak nationals who volunteered to defend the Philippines during World War II, specifically in Bataan.
They were considered the only nationals to serve in the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) from countries that were then occupied by the Nazi forces. — BM, GMA Integrated News