The European Union has extended sympathies over the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III, remembering his contribution to fostering close relations between the Philippines and the regional bloc.
Aquino, the country’s 15th president, passed away Thursday, June 23, according to a relative. The former leader, known for his “Kayo ang Boss ko” manta and “Daang Matuwid” reforms, was 61.
“The EU Delegation and family in Manila express their condolences to the Aquino family and the whole nation on the passing of former President Benigno Noynoy Aquino III. Fond memories of his visit to Brussels in 2014,” the group said in a tweet Thursday.
“We mourn a friend who pushed for deepening of our relations,” it added.
Then President Aquino visited Brussels, Belgium in 2014 when he met with EU leaders, including European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, to mark the 50 years of friendship between the Philippines and EU.
Aquino, in a joint press conference with Van Rompuy that year, recognized that the relations between the Philippines and EU remained “strong and dynamic” and would “serve as a beacon of cooperation and inclusiveness for generations to come.”
He likewise acknowledged EU as one of the country’s “most valuable partners” in securing and sustaining peace in Mindanao. He said the country was grateful for the EU’s continued support for the peace and development in the south.
Aquino also tackled the South China Sea issue and acknowledged the EU’s significant role in advancing the rule of law and supporting a peaceful and rules-based settlement of the conflicting claims in the disputed sea.