Statement of Press Secretary Jesus G. Dureza Re: PGMA’s APEC trip
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo returns home from the APEC summit in Peru confident that her strong advocacy for the less-developed economies in the midst of present-day financial challenges finds resonance amongst world leaders.
The President, during the discussions, "brought to the table" the concern for the poor and the vulnerable, reminding everybody that we should not forget that it’s the poor eventually who will bear the brunt, and so any solution should take the poor and the vulnerable into account.
Her call for the world trade ministers to convene immediately to bring an early conclusion of the Doha talks (of the World Trade Organization) was shared by leaders. DTI Secretary Peter Favila described it as an exhaustive and productive event.
An early meeting in Geneva of trade ministers is expected as a result of President Arroyo’s initiatives.
The meeting in Colombia with President Alvaro Uribe and other leaders, like former President Andres Pastrana and his former vice president, as well as business leaders from the private sector, augured well for closer relations between both countries -- considering the similarities in both economies, similar challenges and similar solutions that were noted in their discussions.
Before flying back home, the President met with leaders of the Fil-Am community in Los Angeles. She met also with executives of Ingram Micro, a leading player in the technology value chain, who presented to the President their business expansion plans in the Philippines.
She was also cited by the Filipino veterans in California for her strong support for their cause as they continue campaigning for equitable recognition and benefits from the American government.
Before taking her return flight to Manila, the President met with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and discussed matters of common interest. Mayor Villaraigosa extolled the President as a vibrant leader of Filipinos who is held in high esteem by Filipino immigrants in his city. The city of Los Angeles is home to close to a million Filipinos.
Malacañang condemns Mumbai terrorist attacks, sympathizes with the families of the victims
Malacañang condemned today the terrorist attacks on India’s financial district of Mumbai Wednesday by saying that the Philippines and all Filipinos join the entire Indian nation and the rest of the world in its collective quest to end terrorism.
In a statement read by Deputy Spokesperson Anthony Golez this afternoon in Malacañang, Golez said the country condoled with the families of the victims of the attacks which, according to reports, have already claimed more than 100 lives.
“The entire Filipino nation and the Filipinos around the world mourn with the families of those who died, and sympathize with those who were hurt because of the Mumbai attacks,” Golez said.
“We condemn these terroristic attacks against mankind and we will be united with the entire Indian nation and the rest of the world in the quest to end terrorism the soonest possible time,” he added.
He pointed out that the Mumbai attacks “have been the cause of concern with regards to terrorism and terroristic attacks and that is the reason why… we are beefing up all our security and making sure that each and every citizen can be responsible also in giving out intelligence reports to our authorities in order for these attacks not to happen here in the country.”
He expressed confidence that the law enforcement agencies and its intelligence network were always on alert to prevent similar attacks from happening in the country.
“Rest assured that the government is doing everything it can to counter these terroristic activities,” Golez said.
Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish group’s headquarters in India’s financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, according to AP.
PGMA ends weeklong official foreign trip, lists gains
LOS ANGELES -- Malacanang said today that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s appeal to rich nations to help poor and developing countries cope with the current global financial debacle has elicited the sympathy and support of world leaders.
The President aired her appeal during last week’s 16th Asia-Pacific Leaders Summit held in Lima, Peru.
Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, in a press statement, said the President returns to Manila from the APEC summit confident that her strong advocacy on behalf of less-developed economies in the “midst of present-day financial challenges finds resonance amongst world leaders.”
The President is scheduled to arrive tonight from Lima via Los Angeles.
At both the Lima APEC summit and the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Beijing last Sept. 24-27, the President led the charge for wealthy industrialized countries to come to the aid of the struggling and vulnerable economies caught in the web of the most crippling global financial crisis in years.
“We count on the G-7 members of ASEM to consider the emerging economies in the bold actions and extraordinary measures that they plan to undertake to ease the crisis in the global financial system,” she said at the Beijing summit.
G-7 refers to the group of seven industrialized countries: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Japan and Italy.
In her address at Lima’s Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, where she was conferred an honorary doctorate degree last Sunday, President Arroyo called on the “countries of the G-20 to include the developing economies in the brave action of extending help that they intend to take to abate the problem in the global financial order.”
Dureza said that during the discussions among the APEC leaders, the President “brought to the table” the concerns of the “poor and vulnerable, reminding everybody that we should not forget that it’s the poor eventually who will bear the brunt (of the economic crunch), and so any solution should take the poor and the vulnerable into account.”
He said that the President’s initiative for the resumption of the stalled Doha Round of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) talks is expected to bear fruit soon.
He added that her meetings with President Alvaro Uribe and other and political and business leaders of Colombia are expected to strengthen Philippine-Colombia relations, considering that the two countries share similar challenges and solutions.
During her stopover in Los Angeles en route to Manila, the President met with the leaders of the Filipino-American community, and with executives of Ingram Micro, a leading player in the technology value chain.
Ingram Micro officials presented to the President their company’s business expansion plan in the Philippines, Dureza said.
She also met with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who “extolled the President as a vibrant leader of Filipinos who is held in high esteem by Filipino immigrants in his city.”
Los Angeles is home to about one million Filipinos.
The President was also “cited by the Filipino veterans in California for her strong support for their cause as they continue campaigning for equitable recognition and benefits from the American government,” Dureza said.
Ingram Micro execs call on PGMA in L.A.; consider R.P. ‘a very fertile investment’ haven
Executives of Ingram Micro, the world’s largest technology distributor, called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Los Angeles today (Wednesday in the US) and committed to expand their business operations in the Philippines.
Press Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan at noon today (Nov. 27), said Ingram Micro officials presented to the President their company’s business plans which include locating in the Philippines.
Dureza said Ingram Micro executives “look at the Philippines as a very fertile investment” haven and that their commitment to expant their business operations in the country despite the current economic crunch bodes well for the Philippines.
“Despite the financial crisis, yung world leader in technology (Ingram Micro), tini-tingnan pa rin ang Pilipinas (as an investment destination).”
“Despite (economic) slowdown concerns, the biggest technological player worldwide (told the President), mag-i-invest kami diyan (Philippines),” Dureza said.
He added that economic analysts he met in the US said that the worldwide financial crunch could even be advantageous to the Philippines, predicting that US companies may just start laying-off workers and then “outsource to the Philippines.”
“Advantage pa natin!” Dureza further said.
In a press statement summarizing the gains of the President’s attendance at the 16th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Summit, Dureza said that “before flying back home, the President met with leaders of the Fil-Am community in Los Angeles (and) with executives of Ingram Micro, a leading player in the technology value chain, who presented to the President their business expansion plans in the Philippines.”
“She (President Arroyo) was also cited by the Filipino veterans in California for her strong support for their cause as they continue campaigning for equitable recognition and benefits from the American government.”
Dureza added that the President also met with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and discussed matters of common interest,” with the LA mayor extolling the President as a “vibrant leader of Filipinos who is held in high esteem by Filipino immigrants in his city” which is home to almost a million Filipinos.
PGMA presents BizNews Asia Awards to VP De Castro, Villar and 19 others
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will lead other government officials and business leaders on Friday in honoring the some 21 2008 BizNews Asia’s Who is Who in Real Estate (BREW) and 2008 Business Icons Gold (BIG) who are business legends and empire giants for their innovative work, and achievements resulting to the success of real estate industry in the country.
The awarding rites will highlight the 7th founding anniversary celebration of BizNews Asia (BNA), the country’s largest weekly business and news magazine which will be held at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City.
The BizNewsAsia Who is Who in Real Estate (BREW) awards honor tycoons, taipans and chief executive officers (CEOs) who have made significant contributions in the field of real estate and allied industries and services in enhancing the lifestyle and lives of Filipino.
This year’s BREW awardees are Vice President Noli de Castro, chairman, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council; Willie J. Uy, president and CEO, PHINMA Properties; Jose E.B. Antonio, chairman, Century Properties Group; Reghis M. Romero II, president and CEO, R-II Builders Inc.; Alfred Xerez-Burgos Jr., President and CEO, Landco Pacific Corp.; Nestor S. Mangio, chairman, Central Country Estate, Inc.; Isidro A. Consunji, President and CEO, DMCI Holdings, Inc.; Exequiel D. Robles, president and CEO, Sta. Lucia Realty and Development Inc.; Victorio V. Soliven, president and CEO, V.V. Soliven Group of Companies; Mayor Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City; Chairman Bayani F. Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority and Rosemarie Basa, director, Global First Financial Inc.
On the other hand, the 2008 Business Icons Gold (BIG) Awards is an initiative of BizNews Asia to honor entrepreneurs, tycoons and taipans for their contribution to the growth of the country and become icons and inspirational symbols of success and corporate social responsibility.
BNA president and publisher Antonio Lopez said the icons awardees are business legends and empire builders with solid track record of entrepreneurship and achievements.
The 2008 BIG awardees were Manuel Villar of Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc.; Alfonso T. Yu-chengco, chairman emeritus, RCBC; Manuel Pangilinan, president and CEO, PLDT; Andrew L. Tan, president and CEO, Megaworld Corp.; Raul T. Concepcion, chairman, Concepcion-Carrier; Oscar Lopez, chairman and CEO, Ben-pres Holdings; John Go-kongwei Jr., chairman emeritus, JG Summit Holdings Inc.; chairman and president Felipe Gozon of GMA Network Inc.; Henry Sy Sr., chairman emeritus, SM Investments Corp; Ramon Ang, president and COO, San Miguel Corp.
This year’s winner’s is set to receive trophies and certificates from the President herself during the awarding ceremony.
The BREW Awards is to recognize the vision, innovative work, achievements of the awardees in the field of real estate. They are also an acknowledgement of the boom in real estate, now the most dynamic and robust sector of the economy.
Also, during the program, the President is expected to cut the ribbon of the exhibit of watercolor paintings of Leonardo Lopez, brother of Antonio Lopez, BizNews Asia president and Publisher.
PGMA to honor Outstanding Girl Scouts Wednesday
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will lead the recognition rites for the country’s Outstanding Girl Scouts in ceremonies that will be held at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang tomorrow morning.
There are 322 Chief Girl Scout medalists from the different regions in the country who are awardees.
The yearly presentation of the Chief Girl Scout Medal started in 1976 to give recognition to top Senior Girl Scouts, who meet the criteria for outstanding service to their community.
This is built on the Girl Scout's concept of developing the total girl, making her well rounded in all aspects - spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and social.
The chief Girl Scout Medal is a continuing incentive that senior or cadet girl scouts can aspire for as they become actively involved in the conduct of community and national affairs.
The Chief Girl Scout Medal is the highest award in Philippine girl scouting.
The Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) is the national guiding association for girls and young women of the Philippines. Its mission is "to help girls and young women realize the ideals of womanhood and prepare themselves for their responsibilities in the home, and to the nation, and the world community.
The GSP is non-stock, non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political, independent, and voluntary.
UPV study reveals sub-lethal stress in Guimaras’ mangroves
Iloilo City (PIA)- There is still a need to continue monitoring to determine full recovery of mangroves affected by the Solar 1 oil spill in Guimaras two years ago.
This was disclosed by Dr. Resurreccion B. Sadaba, program nanager of the University of the Philippines ’ Oil Spill Response Program, who presented a paper titled Monitoring of Impacts, Response and Recovery of Mangrove Trees and Seedlings Within TINMAR (Year 1).
It was noted that PAH in mangrove sediments was below maximum standard after 11 months of spill but most sites still had Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) above normal, although decreasing in trend. In general, indicators of sub-lethal stress among the surviving mangroves and there is still a need to continue monitoring to determine full recovery, the study disclosed.
The study focused on the mangroves within the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMAR). The activities undertaken included 1) montly collection of litter fall production; 2) determination of leaf size, internode length, standing leaves, rate of defoliation and appearance of new leaves; 3) quarterly quantification of Na/K, N/P/K and heavy metals content in leaves as possible sublethal indicators; and 4) quarterly determination of the concentration of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon in sediments.
In the first year monitoring from October 2007 to September 2008, Sadaba said they get samples from five mangrove species- Avicernnia marina, Rhizophoraapiculata, R. mucronata, R. stylosa, Sonneratia alba. For chemical assessments, sampling was done quarterly. Mature leaves were collected for Na/K; N/P/K and heavy metal content.
Sample digestion was performed followingthe beaker digestion technique (US EPA, 1999) and extracts were analyzed using the Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy at the Chemistry Analytical Lab, UPV. Sediment samples were collected at each site at 3 depth, 0-12; 10-12; and 20-22 cm.
Samples were sent to the analytical services laboratory in Czech Republic for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) and 16 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) as priority pollutants based on US EPA).
It was noted that PAH in mangrove sediments was below maximum standard after 11 months of spill but most sites still had TPH above normal, although decreasing in trend. In general, indicators of sub-lethal stress among the surviving mangroves and there is still a need to continue monitoring to determine full recovery, the study disclosed.
It will be recalled that MT Solar I carrying some 2 million liters of oil sank off Guimaras Strait in August 2006. (PIA 6/T.Villavert)
ASEAN Secretariat and Shaanxi Province Promote Economic and Trade Cooperation
Jakarta, 27 November 2008 - The Shaanxi-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum was held today at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta. The Forum was jointly organised by the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Government and the ASEAN Secretariat.
The aim is to bring together the business communities and government officials from ASEAN and China to appreciate the trade and investment prospects that the two regions have to offer.
In a message delivered by Mr Dhannan Sunoto, Principal Director of Bureau for External Relations and Coordination, Dr Surin Pituswan, Secretary-General of ASEAN said, “Shaanxi is one of the provinces where ASEAN businesses need to look more closely at the opportunities available, even as traditional markets are affected by the global economic slowdown.
The ASEAN business community should, at this time, strive even harder to look for new markets and ventures.” Dr Surin also encouraged the Shaanxi business community to fully explore opportunities in ASEAN for joint ventures, partnerships and closer business relations.”
At the Forum, both sides agreed to the final text of and initialised the Memorandum of Cooperation which will promote cooperation activities in areas of mutual interest. The Memorandum will be signed by Dr Surin and Mr Yuan Chunqing, Governor of the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Government, at the earliest convenience.
Present at the Forum were delegates from the Shaanxi Province, Ambassador and officials from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Indonesia, representatives from the ASEAN Embassies in Indonesia and the ASEAN Secretariat, as well as the business community.
The ASEAN Secretariat had earlier signed Memorandum of Cooperation with Hubei Province and Guangdong Province. The objective is to explore cooperation possibilities with the Central and Western provinces of China which can offer opportunities to deepen and widen ASEAN-China economic relations.
RP exporters book $19.9-M in sales in Halal World Expo
Filipino exporters have booked sales of food products totaling $19.91 million in the recently concluded Halal World Expo 2008 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Department of Agriculture (DA) officials.
The exporters which participated in the expo were: AgriNurture, Inc., Beaches Farms and Trading Corp., C’Est La Vie Food Phil. Inc., Florence Foods Corp., Guaranfood Manufacturing, Q-Phil Products International, RFM Corporation, Sr. Pedro Lechon Manok, and Visayas Chamber of Mango Industry MPC.
Assistant Secretary Clayton Olalia said in his report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap that this positive response by UAE buyers to the Philippines’ participation in the recent food fair bodes well for ongoing government efforts to help Filipino producers and exporters corner a significant share of the $500-billion Halal market across the globe.
Halal refers to the kind of food permissible under Islamic Law.
Olalia, who led the DA team to the Halal Expo held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibit Center in mid-November, said C’est La Vie has already formalized part of these booked orders by signing a supply and purchase contract with UAE buyers for processed tuna and processed mango products worth $960,000 a year for a two-year period. The Filipino firm has also booked sales for Cavendish and Cardaba bananas and fresh mangoes.
He said that Beaches Farm and Trading Corp. has already signed contracts with UAE buyers for white table eggs worth $1.98 million a year for two years; and Florence foods for its various food products worth $960,000 a year, also for two years.
Olalia, who is assistant secretary for administration and the DA official in charge of the Halal sector, said Beaches Farm also formalized contracts for the one-year supply to Iran of dessicated coconuts worth $60,000; fresh Cavendish bananas worth $1.08 million; and canned pineapples worth $1.3 million.
Olalia said the Philippines has a competitive edge in the Halal trade because it is free of both the avian influenza (AI) or bird flu virus and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
He observed that the combined food bill of the Middle East grew a hefty 25% from $16 billion in 2006 to $20 billion in 2007, with the UAE alone accounting for $4 billion.
Because of the UAE’s “strategic business location as an active and challenging market as well as a re-export hub in the Middle East and Africa,” Olalia said the Philippines can “look ahead to major expansions in trade,” particularly in exports of food and related agricultural products.
The UAE is the top export market of the Philippines in the Middle East and Africa, Olalia said, and it is in this country where the Philippines acquired its Halal accreditation in June 2006.
The Philippines , specifically Mindanao , can count on a reliable supply of feed ingredients like corn, rice, copra meal and fishmeal to make its Halal food exports credible and genuine, he said.
Besides recently launching the Philippine National Standards for Halal Foods, the Arroyo administration, thru the DA, has built 12 Halal abattoirs in the South, mostly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The Department has likewise provided technical assistance through the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), which recently conducted a “Basic Halal Meat Inspection Training Course,” funded by the ARMM regional government.
As an active member of the ASEAN Working Group on Halal Food Guidelines, the Philippines has also been involved in the ASEAN-wide cooperation on Halal food industry development since the early 1990s, when the Halal food export business was just starting to grow in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. (DA-PRESS OFFICE)
IACAT and IJM Elated Over Latest Conviction of Human Trafficker
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the International Justice Mission (IJM) are glad to announce the latest conviction of a human trafficking case promulgated this morning (Thursday, November 27) in Paranaque City .
According to the decision penned by Judge Jaime M. Guray of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque City Branch 260, Charmela Barrameda, Roberto Acuin aka “Wowie”, Salvacion Alamares, and Gina Ajero were convicted for the crime of Qualified Trafficking in Person.
The four (4) accused were convicted for victimizing minor girls, with ages ranging from 14-16 years old. The victims had been sexually exploited and were made to work as prostitutes by the accused. One of the four complainants was promised the job of a cashier, while the other three were told they will work as group dancers. Instead, they all ended up as GROs in a videoke club and were forced to engage in acts of prostitution. They also were not brought to Laguna as agreed, but instead to Daraga, Albay. The victims were never allowed to leave the videoke club, until they were rescued by the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division.
The court found the accused, Salvacion Alamares and Gina Ajero guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of RA 9208 and were sentenced to each suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twenty (20) years and to each pay a fine of One Million (Php 1,000,000.00) pesos.
An alias warrant of arrest was issued for Roberto Acuin aka Wowie, and Charmela Barrameda.
This is the 12th conviction recorded by IACAT. Being the body created by law to coordinate and monitor the implementation of Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, the IACAT is monitoring about 600 other cases of human trafficking.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) was steadfast in its support for the Philippine government in terms of fighting human trafficking. Since 2001, the IJM has been engaged in aggressive campaign against sex trafficking in the Philippines .
IACAT Acting Chairman Ricardo R. Blancaflor is thanking DOJ prosecutors and the NBI for their diligent work, and he expressed hopes that the same amount of preparations and efforts will be made in future human trafficking cases.
“Let this be a warning also against human traffickers that their glory days are over, and they must immediately stop. Whether here or abroad, the IACAT will not leave any stone unturned in its efforts to fight the crime of human trafficking”, Blancaflor said.