Philippines–Poland relations are the bilateral relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Poland. Formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on September 22, 1973, but contact between the two peoples dates back to the seventeenth century. While relations between the two countries are largely defined by a shared religion, with both countries possessing predominant Roman Catholic populations with a strong devotion to Pope John Paul II and a shared history of anti-authoritarian struggle, they are not as strong as Poland's relations with other countries in Southeast Asia — a state of affairs that has been defined by Tadeusz Iwiński as a relationship "that was broken by mistake".
The Philippines maintains an embassy in Warsaw and honorary consulates in Poznań and Wrocław, while Poland maintains honorary consulates in Manila, Cebu City and General Santos which are accredited to the Polish embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Relations between the Philippines and Poland may be traced back to the Age of Discovery and the colonization of the Philippines by Spain. While there was interaction between the two countries, however, any history of the Polish community in the Philippines prior to the end of the 19th century is virtually unknown, and even more so the history of Filipinos in Poland. Accounts of a Polish presence in the Philippines were recorded as early as 1618, but the first documented account of a Pole stepping into the Philippines was that of Wojciech Męciński, a Jesuit missionary from Kraków who participated in missionary activities in Japan, China and Vietnam, and who stayed in Manila for a few months in 1642.
The Philippine Revolution had aroused the interest of Poles, particularly those members of the Polish intelligentsia who were willing to denounce European colonialism. In 1898, Ignacy Radliński published an article in the Gazeta Warszawska entitled "Colonial Notes – the Philippine Islands" („Notatki kolonialne – Wyspy Filipińskie”), where he denounces the methods by which the Spanish colonized the Philippines.
During the American colonial period, there was rapid growth in the local Polish community, although most people in the Philippines at the time who were of Polish descent were Polish Americans. Growing trade relations between Poland and Southeast Asia eventually led to the establishment of an honorary consulate in Manila on May 2, 1938, with Swiss businessman Frederick Zuellig serving as the first honorary consul. Prior to the establishment of the Polish consulate, Poles in the Philippines were under the diplomatic protection of the French consulate.
With Philippine independence from the United States in 1946 and the eventual establishment of the communist People's Republic of Poland in 1952, relations between the two countries were severed owing to political differences. However, following Soviet–American détente, relations between the two countries were normalized with the formal establishment of diplomatic relations on September 22, 1973, which culminated with the visit of former President Diosdado Macapagal to Poland in 1974, the first visit to the country by any member of the Philippine government.
Political and military relations
A number of high-ranking officials of the Philippine government have visited Poland, most recently in 2008 with the visit of Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo. The highest-ranking official from the Philippines to have visited Poland is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who visited the country in 2000 while serving as Vice President.
High-ranking officials of the Polish government have also visited the Philippines in the past. In July 2005, Prime Minister Marek Belka visited the Philippines, the first time a sitting Polish head of government visited the country. Former Presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski have also visited the Philippines in a personal capacity, giving talks on Poland's political experiences.
In 2010, the Armed Forces of the Philippines announced the purchase of eight PZL W-3 Sokół helicopters worth ₱2.8 billion (200 million zł, €50 million), the start of a ₱150 billion effort to modernize the equipment of the Philippine military. This purchase was the first time since 1989 that the Philippine government has procured brand new military helicopters.
Economic relations between Poland and the Philippines is mostly limited to trade, and although the value of trade between the two countries is not large, it is growing. Trade between the two countries reached €151 million in 2012, with the balance of trade heavily in favor of the Philippines. Polish products exported to the Philippines include dairy products, mechanical equipment and paper, while 70% of Philippine exports to Poland is composed of electronics. Poland is also a growing market for Philippine furniture exports, with trade between the two countries in furniture increasing by an average of 10.5% between 2005 and 2009 despite having exported only $457,000 worth of furniture products to Poland in 2009. In 2008, the Philippine government temporarily ordered a ban on Polish poultry imports in order to prevent the spread of avian influenza, which at the time did not affect local poultry stocks.
There is minimal Polish investment in the country, largely due to the prevailing investment climate which discourages foreign entry into the Philippine economy. Despite this, however, the Polish government has expressed confidence in the Philippines' economic potential. This was expressed in particular when Poland extended a $140 million credit facility to the Philippine government in 2006 for the purchase of new defense equipment, with then-Defense Minister Radosław Sikorski citing the Philippines' ability to repay the loan. In 2012, the Kraków-based Can-Pack Group acquired 35% of San Miguel Corporation's aluminum packing subsidiary, and a Polish company has also participated in the bidding process for new Philippine license plates.
The Philippines also has investments in Poland: International Container Terminal Services Inc. operates the Baltic Container Terminal in Gdynia, having been awarded a twenty-year management contract in 2003.
A number of Filipino films have been exhibited at Polish film festivals. Films like The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros and On the Job have been screened at the Warsaw International Film Festival, while Norte, the End of History, directed by Lav Diaz, was screened at the New Horizons Film Festival in Wrocław. Filipinos have also appeared on Polish television shows such as Dzień Dobry TVN. A notable instance of a Filipino appearing on Polish television was the third-place finish of Alexander Martinez in the second season of Mam talent!.
The Philippine Embassy has also sponsored exhibitions of Filipino painters, most recently exhibiting the Primeval series by Rodney Yap. Books by Filipino authors have also been translated into Polish, including three books by parapsychologist Jaime Licauco.
Labor and migration
As of 2011, there are 520 Filipinos currently resident in Poland, mostly residing temporarily. They are employed either in the banking sector, in the hospitality industry, as domestic helpers, or as Catholic clergy. A number are also students: twelve Filipinos have studied at the University of Warsaw from 2010 to 2013 under the European Union's Erasmus Mundus program. A portal for Filipinos in Poland, Pinoys in Poland, is maintained by Ronaldo "Dondon" Farrales.
Scandal arose in 2009 when it was discovered that several overseas Filipino workers complained of poor working conditions in Poland, including docked wages and contract substitution. 49 overseas Filipino workers were repatriated by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration because of these complaints, and the Department of Foreign Affairs at one point advised Poland-bound Filipino workers to proceed with caution due to these conditions, even urging those who were headed to the country to work as mushroom pickers to not leave the country due to complaints from Filipinos already employed there in that profession. The situation has improved, however: in 2011, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration listed Poland as one of 76 countries considered to be "friendly" to the concerns of overseas Filipino workers.
Data from the National Statistics Office shows that as of the 2010 census, there are 93 persons in the Philippines who claim to have Polish citizenship, mostly living in Manila. Similar to the Pinoys in Poland portal, a portal for Poles in the Philippines, Polacy na Filipinach, is maintained by Paweł Usarek.
- Foreign relations of the Philippines
- Foreign relations of Poland
- Filipinos in Poland
- Polish settlement in the Philippines
- Embassy of the Philippines, Warsaw
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