National Day of the Czech Republic
THE Czech Republic celebrates its National Day today.
Formerly merged as Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia emerged as independent republics on January 1, 1993. The Czech Republic has an area of 78,864 square kilometers. Prague is the country's capital and largest city. It has some of the most beautiful and historic churches in Europe, concentrated in Bohemia and Moravia.
In 2004, the Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister visited the Philippines and met with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The officials of the Philippines and the Czech Republic agreed to further strengthen ties, particularly in trade, investments and tourism, cultural cooperation, counter-terrorism, and defense cooperation.
Improving trade relations was one of the highlights of the meeting. Trade between the Philippines and the Czech Republic has generally been in favor of the Philippines and has been increasing in the past years. In investment matters, emphasis has been on promoting more joint ventures, particularly in the fields of infrastructure, energy, sugar milling, machinery, environment, and waste management.
The Czech Republic's most notable project in the Philippines is the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3. The Czech company CKD Dopravni supplied the rail vehicles, and is responsible for their maintenance. MRT 3 cost US$655 million, and was undertaken through the government's build-lease-transfer scheme. …