Aside from forging better relations with China, President Benigno Aquino III said his state visit to China will showcase the Philippines as an investment haven to businessmen there following major reform measures he initiated in the government.
“Bilang pangatlong pinakamalaking katuwang sa pakikipagkalakal ng Pilipinas, hindi po natin palalampasin ang pagkakataon na makipagpulong sa mga negosyante sa Tsina upang hikayatin pa silang mamuhunan sa ating bansa,” the President said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Centennial Terminal 2 on Tuesday evening.
“Bibigyang-diin natin sa kanila na bukas at maaliwalas nang muli ang ating bayan sa patas na pagnenegosyo,” he added.
The chief executive said he will invite Chinese investors to come to the Philippines noting that under his leadership the country’s business climate changed tremendously and the country has become a dynamic player in the Asian region.
The government has carried out major reforms to bring back the confidence of foreign investors to put their investments in the country, the President said.
“Asahan po ninyong sa patuloy at puspusan nating pagtatrabaho para sa pag-asenso ng nakakaraming Pilipino, marami pa tayong maipapasalubong sa inyong good news,” he said.
“Bumabangon na po ang Pilipinas, buhay na buhay na ang kumpiyansa ng ating ekonomiya at mga mamamayan tungo sa tuloy-tuloy nating pag-asenso at pag-abot ng ating mga pangarap,” he added.
Aside from promoting the Philippines to Chinese investors, President Aquino said the controversial West Philippine Sea issue will be discussed with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The President said, he and President Hu Jintao will witness the signing of several agreements that will boost cooperation between the Philippine sand China in trade, infrastructure, mass media and culture.
While in China, the President said he will also visit Filipino communities there to express his gratitude to them for their continuous sacrifice for the welfare of their families and the country as a whole.
The President’s five-day visit to China will include stops in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen. The President returns to the country on Saturday, September 3, 2011.(PCOO)
Aquino arrives in Beijing
BEIJING, China:President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here Tuesday evening on board a Philippine Airlines Special Commercial Flight PR 001 on the first leg of his five-day state visit, three city swing to the People's Republic of China.
Aside from Beijing, the President is also scheduled to visit the cities of Shanghai and Xiamen.
The Chief Executive, accompanied by some Cabinet members led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and a large delegation of businessmen, about 270, arrived at exactly 10:30 pm at the Beijing Capital Airport here.
Other Cabinet members who joined the President include Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Trade and industry Secretary Gregorio Domingo, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, and Presidential Adviser on International Relations Domingo Lee.
Among the top businessmen accompanying the President include -- John Gokongwei, Jr., founder and chairman emeritus of JG Summit Holdings, Inc; Washington Sysip, founding chairman of SGV and Co.; Jose Pardo, chairman of the PCCI Council of Business Leaders; Tony Tan Caktiong, chairman and chief executive officer of the Jollibee Foods Corporation; Antonio Cojuangco, chairman of the Nabasan Subic Development Corp.;George Ty, Group chairman of Metrobank; Teresita Sy Coson, co-chairperson of SM Investments Corporation; Carlos Chan, chairman of the Liwayway Holdings; Ramon Ang, president and chief executive officer of San Miguel Corporation; Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the PLDT Co.; Lucio Tan, founder, group chairman of Lucio Tan Group of Companies; Andrew Tan, chairman of Allied group Inc. (Megaworld); Erramon Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures; Alfredo Yao, chairman Zesto Corporation; Tan Ching, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry; and Francis Chua, president of PCUU and PCBC.
He was welcomed by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao, Deputy Diector General of Protocol of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Die Bohua and Philippine Embassy officials led by Charge d'Affaires ad interim Alex Chua, Minister and Consul Maria Teresa Almojuela, and First Secretary and Consul Noel Novicio.
From the airport, the President and his official delegation were whisked to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse where he is billeted.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China on June 9, 1975, the bilateral partnership between the two countries has reached unprecedented levels in terms of political/security and regional cooperation, trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, which have benefited the two countries and peoples.
The Philippines-China economic and trade cooperation continues to serve as the engine that drives Philippine-China relations to greater heights. China is the third largest trading partner of the Philippines, and the fastest growing source of tourists.(PCOO)
Aquino's visit to China to generate about $2-$7 billion worth of investments
BEIJING, China — President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first state visit to the People’s Republic of China is expected to generate about $2-billion to $7-billion worth of investments from various Chinese companies in support of the public-private partnership (PPP) projects of the administration.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio gave this ‘ballpark figure’ in an interview he granted with the members of the media at the Traders Hotel here, early Tuesday evening, hours before President Aquino arrived.
Panlilio was firm and positive about the ‘serious investments’ the government would get from various Chinese companies which would likely go to mining, infrastructure, energy, ship building, and the agri-business sectors.
Panlilio said there are Chinese mining firms that have expressed interests in joint ventures with Filipino companies given the country’s richness in major minerals such as gold deposits, copper, nickel, and chromite.
Panlilio also cited significant improvements made by the Aquino administration towards preventing corruption in the government based on the latest assessment made by the World Bank which could increase the level of confidence investors have in the country.
The DTI executive pointed out that President Aquino’s state visit to China has become so significant given the ‘historic high’ number of business delegation (250) that decided to get involved in this presidential trip.
“We’ve never had a business delegation as big as this in the history of presidential trips abroad and what is significant about this trip is that there was so much interest—and, of course, this is KKB (kanya-kanyang bayad). Nobody is in for a free ride here. All [members] of the business delegation are putting good money to be here in support of the President’s drive, you know, for business and trade promotion. So ang ganda ng feeling, ang ganda ng atmosphere,” Panlilio said. (PCOO)
Filipinos in Shanghai eagerly await arrival of President Aquino
SHANGHAI, China:Filipinos living and working here eagerly await the arrival of President Benigno S. Aquino III who is scheduled to meet them as part of his five-day visit to the People’s Republic of China from August 30 to September 3.
Philippine Consul General Charles Jose underscored the timeliness of the President’s visit saying trade and bilateral relations between the two countries would further be strengthened.
“Of course lahat ng Filipino rito ay very proud to be able to see our President holding his own talks with the Chinese counterparts,” Jose said in an interview.
“I think the State Visit is very timely and very significant. We expect the visit to be able to further strengthen the friendly ties that exist between the Philippines and China. And we also expect the visit will promote cooperation between the two countries in many different areas including trade and investments, tourism promotion, culture and education exchanges and people-to-people contacts,” he added.
According to Jose, there are 4,000 Filipinos working in Shangai and nearby areas categorized as 1) professionals, executives and senior managers; 2) middle management, medical personnel, and teachers; 3) service staff, Filipinos working in restaurants and bars; and 4) overseas performing artists and entertainers.
“I would say Filipinos here are enjoying very good conditions, especially the professionals here in Shanghai. They are provided housing by their employers, and are even allowed to bring their families to join them here,” Jose said.
Jose also said that the President’s visit would spur economic growth for both countries as he expects the Chief Executive to pitch the Philippines as an alternative investment site.
As part of his visit here, the President will keynote the Philippines and Eastern China Business Forum where he will invite Chinese businessmen to invest in the Philippines, according to Jose.(PCOO)
The Aquino government’s Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) will remain in Libya and Syria to help officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in providing assistance to overseas Filipinos workers and Filipino citizens who want to be repatriated.
During a regular news briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government’s teams are still in the crisis-affected countries to address the plights of the Filipinos there.
She said repatriation and evacuation efforts will carry on. “We continue to keep a close eye on the situation and we are hoping na wala namang masasaktan na kababayan natin,” she said.
Valte confirmed that the DFA has ordered the recall of Philippine Ambassador to Syria Wilfredo Cuyugan in Damascus.
Executive Director Eric Endaya of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affair, an expert in repatriation, will replace Cuyugan this September.
“Ang sabi po ni DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario he felt the presence of a more experienced operative in repatriation was required in Syria kaya ni-recall si Ambassador Cuyugan,” Valte told reporters.
Valte also said the Philippine government has already issued a statement recognizing the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the people during this period of transition in Libya.
In a statement posted at the Official Gazette, the Philippines expressed hope that the Council will lead Libya towards peace and stability.
“The Philippines and Libya share a history of excellent relations based on friendship, understanding, and mutual respect. The Philippines looks forward to working with the Libyan people in sustaining and enhancing this relationship,” the Aquino government said.
The Philippines hopes to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of the new Libya in the form of Filipino professionals in the construction, energy, and medical fields.
The Philippine government reiterates its thanks and appreciation to the Libyan people for keeping Filipinos in Libya safe throughout the conflict.(PCOO)
Palace assures public of close monitoring of bird flu resurgence to prevent entry of virus
Malacanang assured the public that the Aquino government is closely monitoring the influx of agricultural produce from neighboring countries amid reports of a possible resurgence of the dreaded bird flu virus as reported by the United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO).
In a press briefing at the Palace on Wednesday, Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that concerned government officials led by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala are keeping an eye on the situation to prevent the possible entry of the bird flu virus in the country.
The UN-FAO issued the warning saying the migration of wild birds could have brought back the virus H5N1 to previously virus-free countries and that a mutant strain was spreading in Asia.
The mutant strain of H5N1, which can apparently sidestep defenses of existing vaccines, is spreading in China and Vietnam, the UN-FAO said in a statement as it urged greater surveillance to ensure that any outbreaks are contained.
Recent reports of the World Health Organization indicated that on August 14, a six-year old girl from Cambodia died due to bird flu. She was the eighth victim succumbing to the dreaded disease in that country.
Elsewhere, FAO says bird migrations over the past two years have brought H5N1 to countries that had been virus-free for several years, including Israel, the Palestinian territories, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia.
The World Health Organization says globally there have been 331 human deaths from 565 confirmed bird flu cases since 2003 when it was first detected.
The virus was eliminated from most of the 63countries infected at its peak in 2006, but it remained endemic in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The FAO further said that the number of outbreaks in poultry and wild bird populations shrank from a high of 4000 to302 in mid-2008, but outbreaks have risen progressively since, with almost 800 cases reported in 2010-2011.(PCOO)
President Benigno S. Aquino III greeted on Wednesday the Philippine Islamic community in the celebration of the Eid ul-Fitr.
“I join the Muslim Filipino community in the celebration of the Eid ul-Fitr. Faith and patience being among the important virtues in Islam, they are reflected in Ramadan and further celebrated in Eid ul-Fitr. Thus, your festivity serves as a recompense for the sacrifices which you have willingly endured during your spiritual struggle in the past month,” the President said in a statement posted at the Official Gazette on Wednesday.
“But more than just a culmination of your abstinence,” President Aquino said, “Eid ul- Fitr should be taken as an occasion to strengthen your consistency in observing the principles of your religion, including the lessons of humility and discipline. I urge you to remain firm in your resolve to help us enliven the daylight of renewal in our nation.
“I commend your resilience in surpassing the test of your devotion to the Almighty. May this event signify another year of meaningful and peaceful relations in your community and among all Filipinos,” he said.
Ramadhan is the month when Muslims observe a strict fast for a period of 12 hours daily, from sunrise to sunset. This year 2011, the holy month of Ramadhan started on August 1.
The ending of Ramadhan is marked by the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr.(PCOO)
Palace vows to continue working hard for more economic growth
The administration of President Benigno Aquino III will continue to work hard to achieve even more economic growth as well as to improve the quality of life of the Filipino people, Malacanang assured Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda issued the statement after the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced that the Philippine economy grew by 3.4 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
Lacierda said that the Aquino administration is aware of the necessary steps that it must take to further improve the Philippine economy.
“Despite the gains we have made over the past year, we remain aware of the necessary steps we must take to achieve even more growth. We have been accelerating spending to provide added stimulus to the economy,” he said.
“July 2011, which will be included in the 3rd Quarter GDP Growth assessment, saw us spend P133.45 million—the highest monthly national government spending figure so far this year,” he added.
Lacierda said the Aquino administration is also working to bring in more foreign direct investments as evidenced by President Aquino’s five-day state visit to the People’s Republic of China from August 30 to September 3.
NEDA announced on Wednesday that the Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 3.4 percent in the second quarter of this year.
The GDP growth is below NEDA’s forecast of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent, and private analysts’ average projection of 4.9 percent, and some international organizations’ average outlook of 5.0 percent in the second quarter.
“We also note that several external factors, such as economic uncertainties in America and Europe, unrest in the Middle East, and natural disasters in Japan have all had an impact on our domestic economy,” Lacierda said.
“And while we recognize the importance of improving our GDP, we also bear in mind that is not completely reflective of how the Filipino people are living,” the Palace spokesman noted.
Lacierda said that the Agriculture grew by 7.1 percent in the second quarter, which, he said, “implies that the growth, while lower, has been equitable.”
“We are making a conscious effort to not merely spend enough, but to spend wisely—in a way that will bring the most benefit to each Juan and Juana de la Cruz,” he added.
He said that while the administration is working toward increasing the economic growth, “we keep in mind that we are working, ultimately, so that more Filipino people can say that they are no longer hungry, that they finally have decent health care, and that they have the opportunity to improve their lot in life—areas in which we have been successful.”
“Rest assured that our administration will continue its hard work toward the true and lasting growth this nation has, for so long, deserved,” he said. (PCOO)