PARTNERS. Department of National Defense officer in charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (left), receives EU Ambassador to Manila Luc Véron at the department’s Edsa Lounge in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Aug. 25, 2022. Faustino praised the EU's continued assistance to the Philippines' disaster relief operations. (Photo courtesy of DND)

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) officer in charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. thanked the European Union (EU) for its assistance to the country's disaster relief operations.

Faustino made this remark after he met with EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron at the DND main building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on August 25.

"Considering the effects of climate change on a country prone to tropical cyclones and other natural disasters, Senior Undersecretary Faustino expressed appreciation for the EU's aid and assistance to the Philippines' disaster relief operations," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement late Tuesday.

The details of Véron's visit were only released to reporters on August 30.

Andolong also said both Faustino and Véron welcomed the positive developments in the ongoing bilateral relations between the EU and the Philippines, as well as the EU's interest in defense and security cooperation with partner countries in the Southeast Asian region.

"Ambassador Véron also shared the EU's political commitment to working with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and looks forward to receiving the Philippine delegation for the Commemoration of the 45th Asean-EU Anniversary at Brussels, Belgium in December this year," he added.

Andolong also said Faustino welcomed the increasing engagement of the EU in the region and looked forward to working with the EU in the future.

Regarding the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issue, both officials agreed on the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the preservation of freedom of navigation, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

"Ambassador Véron ensured that these principles remain in line with the EU's Indo-Pacific Strategy," Andolong added. (PNA)