By Excel V. Dyquiangco
THE People’s Republic of Bangladesh recently commemorated its 46th year as an independent state with a formal banquet, attended by local government executives, foreign dignitaries and business leaders.
The country’s ambassador to the Philippines Asad Alam Siam spoke with the BusinessMirror about the significance of the celebration, as well as its plans to strengthen the relationship between Bangladesh and the Philippines.
Could you give a short perspective of this event? We understand Bangladesh is celebrating a historic milestone.
Pakistan used to have two parts: the present-day Pakistan, and the other one is the East Pakistan. In between is India. Between the two “Pakistans”, they had nothing in common. We can say we are culturally different from the Pakistanis; and in 1970, there was an election for a democratic government which we won in majority, but we were denied democracy. The liberation we earned was for democracy. There was a nine-month liberation war which began March 26 of that year. About three million people died. Many properties and assets were destroyed. On December 16 we finally achieved independence of the land.
What are your plans to strengthen the relationship between Bangladesh and the Philippines?
Our countries are, in many ways, similar because we have similar challenges to overcome. So we can learn from each other’s good practices, while we in Bangladesh can replicate and implement them. A major objective of my assignment here is to bring the two countries closer in terms of training and experience, specifically addressing climate change and disaster management. Another is to recover the heist money of our Central Bank.
What are your initial impressions of the Philippines?
I’m finding this country very friendly, and the people are very nice. The environment is the same as that of Bangladesh.