President Benigno S. Aquino III reported securing $1.4 billion investment pledges following his four-day visit in Japan.
In his arrival statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Centennial Terminal 2 Wednesday evvening the president said his official visit to Japan was aimed at building stronger “strategic partnership” with that country.
“Wala pong duda sa tagumpay ng ating biyahe: sa loob lamang ng apat na araw dumalo po tayo sa tatlumpu’t anim na meeting at iba't-ibang engagement, kung saan may $1.4 billion na halaga ng bagong mga negosyo't mamumuhunan ang tiyak na papasok mula sa Japan, ito po ay sa mga sektor ng enerhiya, manufacturing, at mga serbisyo,” the president said in his speech.
Through the trip, the President said he was able to reintroduce the country as a place ready for business where investors can expect to be treated with with fairness and transparency.
The President also thanked Japanese Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for their warm welcome and continuing support for the Philippines despite the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.
“Habang nakatutok sila sa recovery at reconstruction ng kanilang bansa, mananatili sila sa pagbigay ng Official Development Assistance sa Pilipinas, bilang suporta sa ating Philippine Development Plan at sa Public-Private Partnership program. Nakakagalak ng kalooban ang ganitong uri ng malasakit mula sa bansang Hapon,” the president said.
After a meeting with Noda the president said the Philippines could expect improved mechanism for the entry of Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japan.
At the same time, both countries have forged better cooperation for enhanced disaster prevention and management as well as climate change response, the President said. He and Noda also singed a Forestland Management Project.
The Philippines also got the support of Japan in maintaining peace in the disputed West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said.
“Pareho naming kinikilala na magandang hakbang ang pagtanggap sa Guidelines for the Implementation on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” he said.
Aside from economic issues, President Aquino and Prime Minister Noda also discussed tourism and information technology and the need for the Philippines to strengthen its coast guard.
The President said his recent visits in the US and Japan have brought back the trust and confidence of the international community for the Philippines.
“Sa naging sunod-sunod po nating pagbisita sa ibang bansa, lalo pong naging malinaw at nanunumbalik na ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng mundo sa Pilipinas,” the president said.
“At iyan naman po ang mithiin natin: na kapag narinig ang pangalan ng ating bansa, hindi kurapsyon at utak wang-wang ang tatatak sa kanila; sa halip, isang bansang marangal at maunlad, isang bansa kung saan nangingibabaw ang kultura ng mabuting pamamahala at pakikipag-kapwa,” he added. (PCOO)
Aquino commends gov't agencies for good disaster response
President Benigno S. Aquino III praised government agencies that responded well to the devastation brought by Typhoon Pedring while he was on an official working visit to Japan.
The President, who arrived from Japan Wednesday evening, expressed sadness over the devastation by Typhoon Pedring.
While in Japan, the President said he remained in close contact with the members of his cabinet, particularly Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Social Welafre Secretary Dinky Soliman to know the situation in the country.
“Talaga naman pong napakalakas ng hagupit ni Pedring., ngunit gaya po ng ating pinatunayan nitong mga nagdaang mga bagyo:, kahandaan, disiplina, mabilis na pagresponde at pagtutulungan ang susi upang malampasan ang unos na ito, at mailayo sa kapahamakan ang buhay at kabuhayan ng marami nating kababayan,” he said.
“Saludo ako sa PAGASA sa pagbibigay ng tama at napapanahong impormasyon: sa NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council), sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), maging sa AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) at PNP (Philippine National Police), at sa iba pang katuwang na ahensya ng gobyerno, at sa mga lokal na pamahalaan sa kanilang ipinamalas na malasakit at pagbabayanihan.”
The Chief Executive said he hopes that these agencies will continue to work well to prevent loss of lives and to protect properties during typhoon seasons.
“Umaasa akong lalo pang umigting ang ganitong uri ng kahandaan at aktibong balikatan upang masiguro na anumang banta o sakuna ang dumating, matagumpay muli natin itong malalampasan,” he said.
Based on latest reports, the death toll from Typhoon Pedring climbed to 35, while 45 were reported missing on Thursday as floods submerged thousands of homes in the country. (PCOO)
Malacanang assures commitment to improve business and economic climate in PHL
Malacanang made it clear that the decline of the country’s ranking in an annual survey on the world’s economic freedom was based during the incumbency of the past administration as it assured that efforts are underway to ensure the Aquino government’s commitment to improve the business and economic climate in the country.
In a statement released on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda noted that the result of the 2011 Annual Economic Freedom of the World Report was based on 2009 reports under the incumbency of the past administration. The parameters used include size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulation of credit, labor and business.
In his statement, Lacierda also said that the Aquino administration has taken steps, among others, to streamline the bureaucracy, level the business playing field, improve the business registration system and institute zero-based budgeting – all were part of the government’s efforts in effecting reforms and improve the economic climate in the country.
With these efforts in place, Lacierda expressed high hopes that the country will improve its ranking in the next research to be released.
“We can reasonably expect that the efforts of the Aquino administration woul be factored in the next report, and the Philippines will rank higher,” Lacierda said.
Both the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation have indexes to measure and track economic freedom in the world.
The Fraser Institute’s annual report, The Economic Freedom of the World Index, is produced in partnership with the Florida State University and the Southern Methodist University, and it analyzes five subcomponents to measure a country’s level of economic freedom. These subcomponents include the size of government based on expenditures and taxes; the legal structure and its protection of property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally; and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
The Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, publishes the Index of Economic Freedom, which evaluates various subcomponents of economic freedom, including levels of business, trade, fiscal, monetary, and labor freedom; government spending; and property rights.
Economic freedom affects every aspect of an individual’s life. Living in a society with high levels of economic freedom leads to higher incomes, lower poverty, less unemployment, longer life expectancies, and cleaner environments, among a host of other benefits. More economic freedom improves well-being and leads to a higher quality of life. (PCOO)
Aquino to approve measures addressing global economic slowdown
President Benigno S. Aquino III will soon approve several economic proposals aimed at boosting government spending in the next three months to shield the country’s vulnerable sectors from the impact of the global economic downturn.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was asked by reporters about government’s response on the impact of economic slowdowns in the US and Europe particularly on the vulnerable sectors in the Philippines.
“Whether you call it stimulus or additional expenditure programs what we have set out to do… and in fact the president is going to call a meeting soon to approve a number of proposals both coming from the Department of Finance and Department of Budget and Management and from the infrastructure departments. These proposals are expected to further boost the spending over the next three months,” Abad told Palace reporters on Thursday.
At the same time, the budget chief allayed public fears on the major effects of the global slowdown on the economy saying the country is more resilient than other countries because of its active domestic economic activity.
The Philippines is stronger compared to other countries which are more exposed to the global market's financial instability like the US and Europe, Abad said.
Those countries are more vulnerable because their economies are directed outward. But in the case of the Philippines it is less vulnerable because it’s not an export-oriented economy.
The Philippine for the most part is dealing with its internal domestic economic requirement like problems in governance, poverty reduction, and accelerating the domestic economy creating much local activity, he added.
The country has a lot of movement within the economy enabling it to generate a lot of growth and social services to the people, Abad said.
“And so we do not have that challenge of having to rebalance the economy unlike other countries which are really exposed externally so much more than us.”
However, Abad acknowledged the weaknesses of some sectors, particularly those exporting their products like semiconductors and the electronics industries. He said overseas Filipino workers may also be affected if the dollar continues to weaken against the peso as a result of the global slowdown.
This time however, OFW remittances remain robust and the country must recognize the adaptability of the Filipino manpower that significantly supports the country’s economy, he said.
“But of course there are other upsides in the economy. We still have to see because the situation out there is volatile. We are hoping that the European Union takes a more decisive action with respect to Greece as well as other countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain,” he noted.
“In the case of the US it’s not so much as they are not making the right economic move as they are applying partisan political decisions to purely economic problems, and therefore there are some mismatches in the options they are facing,” he said. (PCOO)
Faith-based groups to celebrate solidarity in Balangayan Conference
Representatives from different faith-based groups will meet Saturday (October 1) at the University of Santo Tomas in response to President Benigno Aquino III’s call for change.
The Balangayan Conference, to be held Saturday morning at the Medicine Auditorium of the University of Santo Tomas, is part of a series of activities for Pilipinas Natin, a volunteer movement that the President launched in June intended for nation building through volunteerism.
The conference will become a venue for Filipinos of different faiths to unite in manifesting their common values and love for the nation.
It was also organized to debunk preconceived notions that diverse faith groups have a difficult time, finding common ground and working with each other. Eight hundred young Filipinos are expected to attend the event.
Participating groups include the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies, Buddhist Light International Association, Tuklas Katutubo, The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, The Focolare Movement, representatives from Hindu community, The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Theology professors, students from seminaries and Catholic universities, representatives from student councils and youth organizations, the National Youth Commission, and the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation.
Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma will open the conference with a talk on the diverse views and aspirations of Filipinos of different faiths from all over the country. Their estimations and hopes for the country will be delivered to the audience through a live presentation “Anong Pilipinas ang Gusto Mo?”
Representatives of the faith-based groups will then share the ways by which they manifest their love for the Philippines.
In the second section of the conference, PCOO Undersecretary forSpecial Concerns Jose Mari M. Oquiñena will encourage the participants to celebrate solidarity as Filipinos who care for others through his talk “My Brother’s Keeper.”
A question and answer portion as well as reactions from leaders of the different communities will bring to light the possibility of harmonious co-existence. (PCOO)