(MADRID, Spain) President Benigno Simeon Aquino III leads the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Rizal monument here on Sunday (September 14). The President will first visit Spain, then proceed to Belgium, France and Germany for two days each. (MNS photo)

(MADRID, Spain) President Benigno Simeon Aquino III leads the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Rizal monument here on Sunday (September 14). The President will first visit Spain, then proceed to Belgium, France and Germany for two days each. (MNS photo)

MADRID, Spain (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III has expressed gratitude to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for consistently providing help to the Philippines in times of crisis, especially during natural disasters.

In their bilateral meeting at the Palacio de la Moncloa here on Monday, President Aquino thanked the Prime Minister and the people of Spain for the generous assistance they have extended to victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has caused massive damage to Central Visayas in November last year, killing over 5,000 people and leaving thousands other homeless and unemployed.

President Aquino invited the Spanish government to become part of the Philippine efforts to “build back better” typhoon-hit areas, including Tacloban in Leyte.

The Chief Executive emphasized that the country is open to development partnerships, either with the public or private sector.

The President likewise thanked Prime Minister Rajoy for the assistance his country extended when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the provinces of Bohol and Cebu in October 2013.

He also expressed appreciation for Spain’s substantial donation to the victims of the standoff in Zamboanga City between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front.

The President flew to Brussels, Belgium after sitting down with Prime Minister Rajoy. (MNS)