Friday, 30 September 2011

PIA Dispatch - Thursday, September 29, 2011

Aquino secures $1.4B-investment commitments from Japan

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)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

PIA Dispatch - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Aquino and Prime Minister Noda underscore importance of improving business environment and promoting investment between Japan and PHL

TOKYO, Japan
-- President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Tuesday held a productive first Summit Meeting in a cordial-forward looking and constructive atmosphere at the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) here.

In their Joint Statement following their meeting, the two leaders confirmed the importance of improving the business environment and further promoting investments between Japan and the Philippines.

President Aquino affirmed his administration's commitment to promoting good and accountable governance and the improvement of the business environment, including continually enhancing administrative transparency and predictability.

During their meeting, Prime Minister Noda expressed his "high appreciation for the efforts of President Aquino."

According to the Joint Statement, the President had requested Japan's support for his administration's Public-Private Partnership program, which prioritizes infrastructure and development projects, in furtherance of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.

In his response, Prime Minister Noda said that Japan will support the improvement of the investment environment through active utilization of the Office Development Assistance (ODA), and thereby promote private investment and contribute to the development of the Philippines.

In this regard, Prime Minister Noda announced that Japan will dispatch a public-private mission to the Philippines by March 2012 and hold a seminar in Manila which will contribute to the improvement and development of infrastructure in the country.

The two leaders also stressed the importance of the exchange and cooperation between business groups such as the Japan-Philippines Economic-Joint Committee in advancing infrastructure development to encourage investments.

They likewise confirmed the importance of the timely conclusion of the Philippines' ongoing process with regard to the Japanese terrestrial digital TV broadcasting system. (PCOO)

President Aquino invites Their Majesties Emperor and Empress of Japan as well as Prime Minister Noda to visit PHL

TOKYO, Japan
-- President Benigno S. Aquino III has conveyed his invitation for Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and other members of the Imperial Family of Japan to visit the Philippines.

In a Joint Statement issued by the President and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda following their Bilateral Summit Meeting at the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) here, the Chief Executive invited the Imperial Family at a "mutually convenient opportunity."

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito is the eldest son and the fifth child of Emperor Hirohito (the Showa Emperor) and Empress Kojun.

Expressing his profound gratitude for the warm hospitality accorded him and his delegation by the Government of Japan during his four-day official working visit to Japan, President Aquino also invited Prime Minister Noda to visit the Philippines in 2012 at an opportunity convenient to both sides.

For his part, Prime Minister Noda expressed his gratitude for the invitation. (PCOO)

Aquino urges Japanese investors to look at investment prospects in the Philippines

TOKYO, Japan:
President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the business leaders of Japan to see for themselves what the Philippines can offer them in terms of investments as he underscored the various corrective measures that his administration have already taken that would erase doubts among some who are exploring the idea of investing in the Philippines.

"We are undertaking these measures to create a more equitable business environment, where each project represents the Five "R's" we are espousing: Right Project, Right Cost, Right Quality, Right People and Right on Time," the President said in his speech on Tuesday at the luncheon hosted by the Japan and Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Japan Economic Cooperation Committee at the Tokyo Kaikan here.

"This is the only way to ensure that "your projects are beyond question by the public, or by succeeding administrations," the President stressed.

According to the President, his visit to Japan and his attendance to all his business meetings was "to share with them the bright prospects for the future of our partnership."

"I was elected into office with a clear mandate and it is my obligation to make the promises I made to my people real and felt by all," he said.

It is in this connection, the President said, that since he assumed Office in June 2010, his administration has been working round-the-clock to ensure that the reforms he had already put in place would improve the ability of Filipino citizens to put food on the table.

"First on our agenda was to eliminate certain roadblocks that turn away businessmen from investing in our country, in matters big and small," he added.

He noted that from "reducing red tape, simplifying the number of forms, and speeding up the time it takes to register a business, in small ways we can, and are, making a large improvement to the processes required for investments."

The President also said that his government is undertaking innovations, such as the Electronic Payment System for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) applicable to four out of five selected transactions of PEZA enterprises.

"Local governments have begun to follow suit; as 79 local government Units have already streamlined their business permits and licensing system.

The President also told the business leaders present that his administration has vowed to follow formal processes for getting deals approved, such as proper and transparent bidding, to help eliminate the preponderance of under-the-table transactions with bloated commissions secretly pocketed by corrupt officials.

"All our efforts are governed by an overarching principle: an end to corruption means an end to poverty. This was our rallying cry during the campaign, and this is what will carry us through until the end of my administration in 2016, " he said.

Because of all these, President Aquino said, the results are encouraging. "Our stock markets shave hit all-time highs seven times since my administration took office. My country has received four positive rating actions from credit rating agencies in over a little more than a year," he said.

"We were able to fund even more projects without raising taxes in the past year and are also on target with our social service commitments,” the President said.

He expressed confidence that the positive trend will endure and strengthen further through Public-Private Partnership Programs and increase in foreign direct investments that the government hope to achieve.

"This is a good time to invest in the Philippines, because this culture of transparency we are cultivating will lead to a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved," the President said adding that he will continue to invest in infrastructure to make the Philippines attractive to those who want to establish their business in the country. (PCOO)

Aquino welcomes Japanese electronics firm to the Philippines

Tokyo, JAPAN:
Japanese electronics components firm, Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd., introduced a new generation of technology in chips manufacturing which it plans to bring to the Philippines by establishing a power chip capacitor plant in the first Philippine Industrial Park in Laguna.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma, Jr. relayed this information Tuesday following the business meeting of President Aquino with Murata officials at the Imperial Hotel.

Flashing a sample of a so-called “monolithic ceramic microchip capacitor” to the members of the Philippine media delegation, Coloma said the product would hit the Philippine electronics industry by October 2012 as Murata targets to complete its 23-hectare power chip capacitor plant in the country by then.

“You will see how microscopic the chips are—very small… This is the new generation of technology in chips manufacturing and Murata is establishing the plant in the Philippines,” Coloma told reporters during a press briefing at Tokyo Kaikan.

Coloma described Murata company as “one of the world’s largest makers of electronic components used in many devices such as computers, mobile phones, automotive navigation, airbag systems and medical equipment.”

Originally based in Nagaokakyo, Kyoto, Murata was started by its honorary chairman, Akira Murata, as a personal venture in October 1994. At present, it is considered as the leading company in manufacturing ceramic passive electronic components, primarily capacitors, and it has an overwhelming share worldwide in ceramic filters, high frequency parts, and sensors.

Murata Manufacturing reportedly has 23 subsidiaries in Japan and 31 overseas, including those in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Finland, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea and China. (PCOO)

Aquino witnesses signing of business agreements with Japanese corporations

TOKYO, Japan
---President Benigno S. Aquino witnessed the signing of four business agreements designed to help improve the country's economic progress and development.

The four agreements, which were signed on Tuesday at the Imperial Hotel, follows:

-- Partnership Agreement between the Federal Land and the Orix Corporation on their Grand Hyatt Project with Francisco Sebastian, chairman of the Federal Land Inc. and Yoshihiko Miyauchi, chairman and chief executive officer of Orix Corporation signing the agreement.

-- Memorandum of Agreement between First Metro Investment Corporation and Mitsui and Co. Ltd. with Federal Land, Inc. chairman Sebastian signing the agreement on behalf of his company while managing officer and chief operating officer Tatsuo Nakayama inking the agreement on behalf of the Motor Vehicles and Construction Machinery Business Unit, Mitsui and Co. Ltd.

-- Reservation Agreement and Term Sheet of INGASCO and other Clark Development Corporation with Lawyer Felipe Antonio Remolio, president and chief executive officer of Clark Development Corporation and Masahiko Kitabatake, president of INGASCO, Inc. sealing the agreement.

-- Memorandum of Understanding between Transnational Diversified Group and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Line with Xavier Delgado, director of Transnational Diversified Group and Naoya Tazawa, representative director and senior managing corporate director of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Line signing the agreement. (PCOO)

Malacanang announces expansion of Toyota Motors Corporation in the Philippines

Tokyo, Japan:
Multinational automaker Toyota Motors Corporation will be expanding its dealership network in the Philippines from 29 to 65 by 2016, thereby placing a 3.6 billion pesos worth of fresh investments in the country and is expected to generate an estimated 5,000 jobs for the Filipinos.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. announced this development Tuesday following President Benigno S. Aquino III’s successful business meeting with top executives of Toyota at the Imperial Hotel.

Coloma relayed that with this fresh commitment from Toyota, their total investments in the Philippines have now reached 20 billion pesos. Their 2010 exports alone reached 860 million dollars which constitutes about 30 percent of the Philippines’ total automotive exports.

“They are now looking at a short-term project [worth] 170-million US dollars [for its] planned improvement for next generation components, manufacturing and localization of spare parts in connection with their manufacturing activities here [in Japan],” Coloma told reporters during a press briefing held at Tokyo Kaikan.

Toyota currently has 35,000 employees in the Philippines and has an ongoing corporate social responsibility project which is the reforestation development in Peñablanca, Cagayan. Coloma said Toyota plans to produce 100,000 cars by 2013 in time for the celebration of its 25th anniversary in the Philippines.

Coloma said the 100,000 cars project pertain to Toyota’s actual production. They are currently manufacturing Innova and Vios models in Japan and are importing Camry and Lexus types along with many other car models.

“For manufacturing facilities—they are looking at the feasibility of establishing a next generation components manufacturing plant. They are now using this term ‘next generation’—probably referring to hybrid or electric cars—so there will be a higher degree of digitization in the components of the next generation cars,” Coloma stated.

Founded in 1937 by Japanese entrepreneur Kiichiro Toyoda, Toyota has become the world’s biggest automobile manufacturer by production in 2010 and is now considered as one of the world’s largest conglomerates in the motoring industry with Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd., Lexus, and Hino Motors serving as its subsidiaries.

President Aquino who is a known car enthusiast recalled that his father, Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino, Jr. used to drive a Toyota Crown sedan which was transferred to his possession later on.

Coloma said the President shared this particular memory to the Toyota company officials led by Yukitoshi Funo (executive vice president), Michinobu Sugata (president, Toyota Philippines), and Alfred V. Ty (vice chairman, Toyota Philippines) as an “icebreaker” during their meeting.

“This was the car that he [President Aquino] inherited and he liked driving the Toyota Crown. That was what came into his mind when he talked with the people from Toyota,” Coloma said. (PCOO)

Aquino and Prime Minister Noda welcome smooth implementation of agreement between Japan and Philippine Economic Partnership

TOKYO, Japan
--- President Benigno S. Aquino III and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan welcomed on Tuesday the smooth implementation and operation of the agreement between Japan and the Philippines for an Economic Partnership (JPEPA).

In a Joint Statement following their Bilateral Summit Meeting at the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei), the two leaders also welcomed the convening of the Joint Committee and Sub-Committee established under the agreement including the recent meeting of the Sub-Committee on the Improvement of the Business Environment which was held in Manila on September 15.

The Joint Statement said President Aquino and Prime Minister Noda confirmed the importance of continuing dialogues with Japanese business groups to further promote investments.

Furthermore, it said, that the two leaders recognized that the promotion of the movement of natural persons under the agreement "will serve the two countries' interests, and decided to continue consultations in order to further improve the current situation including including the smooth dispatch and acceptance of Filipino candidates for qualified nurses and certified caseworkers."

The President, according to the same statement, expressed his gratitude for various measures taken by the government of Japan to support Filipino candidates, such as introducing Japanese language training before their dispatch to Japan, and welcomed ongoing cooperation between the governments.

"President Aquino emphasized the importance of increasing the passing rates of Filipino nurses in the Japanese National Examination for nurses," the Joint Statement further said.

The two leaders likewise confirmed that both governments will cooperate towards a successful first General Review of the agreement pursuant to Article 161 of the agreement to maximize mutual benefit. (PCOO)

Aquino and Noda cite concrete forms of cooperation to further reinforce strategic partnership with Japan

TOKYO, Japan
--- President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Tuesday shared the view that Japan and the Philippines, as neighboring countries connected by special bonds of friendship, will help promote the following concrete forms of cooperation in a comprehensive manner to further reinforce their "strategic partnership."

In their Joint Statement following their Bilateral Summit Meeting at the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) here, the two leaders identified the two concrete forms of cooperation as follows: maintaining and strengthening high level bilateral relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of economics.

During their meeting, the two leaders also expressed satisfaction that the two countries enjoy dynamic and mutually beneficial economic cooperations including robust trade, investments and development cooperation.

Prime Minister Noda noted that taking in the vitality of Asian countries, including the Philippines, which, he said, "are developing dynamically and sustainably,” is essential for Japan's economic growth.

For his part, President Aquino also welcomed Japan's policy to strengthen economic relations with Asian countries.

The two leaders likewise shared the view that it is important to further deepen the close economic relations between the two countries.

Earlier in his opening statement after their summit meeting, President Aquino stressed that Japan is one of the most important allies, consistently ranking among the country's top sources of investments and official development assistance.

"Our active bilateral engagement combined with shared values and our many common advocacies in the global arena, have truly made our relations a strategic partnership.

According to the President, development cooperation is one of the pillars of this strategic partnership,” the President said.

He thanked Prime Minister Noda for affirming the Philippines as an important target country for Japanese official development assistance (ODA), and for Japan's assurances to sustain said assistance at current levels.

"I thanked the Prime Minister for extending us new a ODA," the President stressed.

President Aquino also said that he was elated to witness with Prime Minister Noda the Exchanges of Notes on the Yen Loan for the Forestland Management Project worth 9.22 Billion Yen, or about P5.87 Billion which will help preserve critical river basins in the Philippines spanning four regions. (PCOO)

Aquino and Prime Minister Noda reaffirm Importance of peace in Mindanao

TOKYO, Japan:
President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reaffirmed the importance of peace in Midanao for regional security and stability.

In a Joint Statement following the two leaders bilateral summit meeting at the Prime Minister's Office here, President Aquino underscored his administration's commitment to securing peace in Mindanao and expressed his gratitude to the government of Japan for its continued contribution to the Mindanao peace process.

The President also thanked Japan for its assistance in facilitating his meeting with the Moro Islamic Kiberation Front (MILF) leadership in Japan on August 4, 2011, which, he said pushed the peace process forward.

In response, Prime Minister Noda said that the government of Japan will continue to send development experts to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to implement Japanese-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) projects, to contribute through the International Contact Group (ICG) and to conduct the Mindanao Young Leaders Invitational Program, among others.

The Japanese official also said that with regard to the J-BIRD projects, his county will adopt two technical cooperation projects, namely, "Rice-based farming technology extension project for the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao" and "capacity-building in support of the community development for conflict-affected areas in Mindanao," which were requested by the Philippines.

In this connection, President Aquino expressed his appreciation to Japan. (PCOO)


Japanese Prime Minister expresses gratitude to PHL for emergency relief assistance and dispatch of medical team to disaster-affected areas in Japan

TOKYO, Japan
: Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed his profound gratitude to the Philippines for the provision of emergency relief supplies and dispatch of a medical assistance team to disaster-affected areas in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake

In a Joint Statement following his bilateral summit meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Prime Minister's Office here, Prime Minister Noda stressed his determination to make utmost efforts for a reconstruction open to the world, while strengthening the "Kizuna" bonds of friendship with the international community and "taking in the vitality" of foreign countries.

He pointed out that Japan will share the experiences and lessons learnt from the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station with the international community and thereby contribute to enhancing global nuclear safety.

For his part, President Aquino also reiterated his condolences to the victims of the earthquake and their families, and reaffirmed the country's readiness to extend further assistance within its capacity, emphasizing that such support is a testament to the Filipino people's friendship and solidarity with the people of Japan.

The President expressed confidence that Japan will recover soon and continue to play an active role in the international community. (PCOO)

Aquino and Prime Minister Noda vow to work for success of UN Framework on Climate Change meeting in South Africa

TOKYO, Japan:
President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda confirmed the importance of establishing a fair and effective international framework with the participation of all major economies based on the Cancun Agreements and through a transparent and inclusive process.

In a Joint Statement after their bilateral summit meeting at the Kantei, the Office of the Prime Minister here, the two leaders decided to work together constructively for the success of the 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) meeting which will be held in the Republic of South Africa from November 28 to December 9 this year.

During their meeting, Prime Minister Noda renewed his government's willingness to promote the East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership and to work with the Philippines in achieving the objectives of the partnership, to which President Aquino expressed his support. (PCOO)

Aquino expresses gratitude for the support Japan has extended for poverty reduction and economic development

TOKYO, Japan
-- President Benigno S. Aquino expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the support Japan, as the top donor country to the Philippines, has extended for poverty reduction and economic development in the Philippines.

The President's expression of gratitude was contained in a Joint Statement after his first Bilateral Summit Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) here.

In response, the Japanese official vowed to continue its assistance to the Philippines as an important Official Development Assistance (ODA) target country.

The two leaders also emphasized the importance of the Japanese ODA loan project"Forestland Management Project" for disaster management as well as addressing climate change.

They also welcomed the signing and exchange of notes for the project that took place on Tuesday also at the Kantei, Prime Minister's Office.

At the same time, the two leaders welcomed the entry into force on April 8 this year of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.

President Aquino and Prime Minister Noda likewise decided to continue to promote maritime connectivity in the Philippines and its surrounding area through their support for the "Maritime ASEAN Economic Corridor," the initiatives to contribute to the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), and cooperation under the framework of the Japan-BIMP EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area), while coordinating with the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan (CADP) formulated by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). (PCOO)

Nikkei group invites Aquino to annual future of Asia Forum next year

Tokyo, JAPAN:
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday received an invitation from the Nikkei group of publications to serve as its guest speaker for the annual Future of Asia forum in Japan that will be held on May 24 to 25 next year.

Nikkei president Ryoko Sugita extended the invitation during his courtesy call with the President at The Salon of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. He also invited the Philippine leader to visit Kyoto at the same time “to meet with a descendant of the Grandmaster of the Tea Ceremony.”

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the President thanked Mr. Sugita for the invitation and “will seriously consider” it if his schedule of activities lined up for next year permits him to accept the same.

“The Grandmaster was a Christian at a time when Christianity was officially banned in Japan. The President said there’s a monument in honor of the Grandmaster near his residence in Quezon City,” Coloma said as he relayed some of the exchanges between Mr. Sugita and the President.

Future of Asia is an international conference held annually in Japan where government leaders and top business executives from the Asia-Pacific region present their latest ideas for generating positive and lasting change in the region.

Other Philippine heads-of-state including former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have graced invitations from Nikkei to speak at the Future of Asia forums. President Arroyo attended the 8th, 9th, and 13th conferences in 2002, 2003, and 2007, respectively, while President Ramos went there in 2004.

Mr. Sugita was accompanied by his fellow Nikkei officials namely, Naotoshi Okada (managing director and editor-in-chief), Rinji Takeoka (director, International Business Bureau), Rinichiro Nagasawa (deputy general-manager, IBB), Toru Yoshida (Editor of the Asia and Oceania News Department), and Shigeru Komago (managing director for broadcasting and telecommunications strategy). (PCOO)

Aquino sums up four-day working visit to Japan as “very successful”

Tokyo, JAPAN:
President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed an overwhelming gratitude to the people of Japan and its government for their hospitality as he prepared to wrap up his very successful four-day official working visit here.

During his traditional late evening engagement with the members of the Philippine media delegation, President Aquino said he was very heartened by the fact that Japan decided to sustain its 9.2 billion yen official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines notwithstanding the earthquake and tsunami that swallowed its Tohoku region only last March.

“So there’s a commitment na ime-maintain ‘yung ODA assistance sa atin eh. So in spite of their difficulties, handa pa rin silang tumulong sa atin, paano naman hindi ikagagalak ng kalooban mo ‘yon, ‘di ba?” the President told reporters, Tuesday evening.

President Aquino also mentioned that all the business leaders he met the entire Tuesday manifested keen interest to expand their existing investments in the Philippines especially those that are involved in the energy sector.

Most, if not all, of the companies producing power in Japan had to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption following the Great East Japan Earthquake, thereby prompting their owners to review their policy and consider transferring some of their operations to other locations overseas.

President Aquino also mentioned that Japan has reaffirmed its commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in its ongoing peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a member of the International Monitoring Team. He said Japan shall keep its projects under the Japan Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development Program.

The Japanese government further committed aid to strengthen the capability of the Philippine Coast Guard—both in terms of manpower and equipment—in its protection of the West Philippine Sea in keeping with its bid for freedom of navigation.

President Aquino said freedom of navigation is very important for the Japanese since all their oil exports pass through the West Philippine Sea. He underscored that Japan has been very supportive of the Philippines’ position to settle the dispute among claimant countries before the international law.

The President, moreover, said Japan through Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also expressed commitment to look into the Philippines’ problem with respect to the low passing rate of nurses in the country during the annual licensure exams.

President Aquino said Prime Minister Noda was “quite positive” when he mentioned about the problem of nurses in the Philippines and the Japanese leader promised him that they will “review the procedures and see if it is too stringent”.

“Pero, syempre, I don’t think he [Noda] is in a position to commit right now that we’ll have 3,000 by next year, 5,000 by the other,” the President clarified. He, however, mentioned that there was an offer to invite 400 Filipino nursing students to study in Japan as part of the people exchange program. (PCOO)

Malacanang announces Marubeni Corporation has vowed to sustain partnership with local businesses

TOKYO, Japan:
Marubeni Corp., one of the largest Japanese companies, rolled out several projects for the Philippines in partnership with Filipino companies following a four-day visit of President Benigno S. Aquino III in Japan. Top executives of Marubeni Corp. met the President Tuesday morning.

According to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. Marubeni is partnering with Philippine-based companies such Aboitiz Group of Companies and the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in carrying out big ticket projects in the country.

Marubeni is linking up with Aboitiz Group of Companies for the expansion of the Pagbilao Coal Power Plant, constructing the Leyte-Mindanao interconnection power project, and putting up the Waste Water Treatment project in Metro Manila. On the other hand, the company is working with SMC for the expansion of its power-generation facility in Sual, Pangasinan.

“It’s quite a significant number of portfolio projects that Marubeni is involved [with] and this was by way of an update on their letter of intent given to the President, I believe, last year at the sidelines of the APEC Yokohama Summit. They are reporting that significant progress has been made in all of these fronts,” Coloma said during a press briefing held at Tokyo Kaikan.

Coloma told reporters that the feasibility study for the Pagbilao Coal Power Plant expansion as well as environmental issues have already been settled noting that the entire project could be finished by 2015 based on Marubeni’s timetable. The company was able to finalize the first 300-megawatt component with Aboitiz as the EPC contractor

Marubeni is now in the process of finalizing the financial package and the EPC or Engineering Procurement and Construction contract, Coloma said.

Aside from the expansion of its facilities in Sual, Pangasinan in partnership with SMC, Coloma said Marubeni announced putting up a 600-megawatt coal-powered plant in Subic Bay Freeport that could cost $1 billion.

Coloma added that the Department of Energy is working with Marubeni to ensure that its business ventures will be environment friendly.

Another Marubeni’s project under Aboitiz partnership is the Leyte-Mindanao interconnection energy project that will address power shortages in the Visayas and Mindanao as well as reducing the high cost of energy in the country.

“And in terms of Mindanao, the President commented that there will be significant dividends from the peace process. If the peace process is completed—meaning, the negotiations with the MILF—then there could be more projects for development in Mindanao,” Coloma said.

The Aquino administration is also working for the amendments to the Local Government Code so that companies investing in projects with national significance could continue enjoy tax breaks and incentives while maintaining good relationship with their host communities, Coloma added. (PCOO)

More Japanese business leaders express interest in investing says Coloma

Tokyo, JAPAN:
More business leaders met with President Benigno S. Aquino III Wednesday hours prior to his departure for Manila as part of his activities for the fourth and final day of his official working visit here.

Members of the Asian Business Council led by Nobuyuki Idei, long-time chief executive officer (CEO) of Sony Corporation, spoke with the President to discuss business prospects for the Philippines as they conveyed great interest to invest in the country.

Yoshihiko Miyauchi, chairman and CEO of Orix Corporation, observed that the level of Japanese investments in the Philippines seemed to have slowed and his company would like this situation to be improved significantly, according to Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr.

“He [Miyauchi] noted that the timing of the President’s visit is quite good as many Japanese companies are willing to invest in the country. He mentioned ship building as an industry with good potential,” Coloma added.

Idei reported that his Sony Corporation has recently established a call center company in the Philippines. President Aquino cited the business process outsourcing industry as one of the major contributors for the government’s total revenue of about 14 billion pesos with 640,000 of jobs generated.

Coloma said the Council members inquired what were the strategically important businesses in the Philippines today and the President answered that tourism was on top of the list as it could be considered as a “low-lying fruit”.

Quoting Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Coloma said the ASEAN integration will be realized by 2013 and this will be a good investment opportunity for Japanese companies.

Apart from his Cabinet secretaries, President Aquino was accompanied by the members of his business delegation led by SM Investments Corp.’s vice chairman Tessie Sy-Coson and Magsaysay Maritime Co.’s chief executive officer Doris Magsaysay-Ho.

After his engagement with the Asian Business Council, the President met with the members of Japan Shipowners’ Association (JSA) led by its president Akimitsu Ashida. Coloma said President Aquino thanked JSA for its “continuing efforts to combat piracy, especially in Somalia, to ensure the safety of Filipino seafarers”.

JSA companies employ around 35,000 Filipino seafarers and they continue to make substantial investments in equipment to upgrade training and development, according to Eduardo Manese, president of the Philippine-Japan Manning Consultative Council and chairman of Magsaysay Maritime Corp. (PCOO)

Marubeni corporation to invest in transport, waste management sector

TOKYO, Japan:
Japan’s Marubeni Corp. has shown interest in investing in the country’s transport and waste water management sector following the visit of President Benigno S. Aquino III in Japan.

Marubeni Corp., one of the largest Japanese companies, is currently working on a waste water treatment project for Metro Manila, the LRT Line 1 South extension and MRT-7 project, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma, Jr. said in a media briefing in Tokyo.

Coloma said Marubeni is partnering with big Philippine-based companies such as Aboitiz Group of Companies and the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in carrying out big ticket projects in the country.

Top executives of Marubeni Corp. met the President Tuesday morning.

Based on the President’s instruction, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson is currently working to organize a National Water Management Coordinating Council in connection with the waste water management project for Metro Manila under Marubeni, Coloma said.

“The President noted that responsibility for water is presently divided among several government agencies and he wants tighter coordination so we can manage this very important area of our natural resources. Marubeni offered assistance in terms of finance also leading edge technology in the area of water which, as I pointed out earlier, they consider to be a strategic area in their portfolio,” Coloma said.

With respect to Marubeni’s LRT Line 1 South extension project, to be construction in partnership with SMC, Coloma said the company is “looking at a possible turnkey project similar to its Australian experience” in building railway system. (PCOO)

Aquino commits to settle digital TV issue by early 2012

TOKYO, Japan:
President Benigno Aquino III made an assurance that the Philippines will soon complete its technical evaluation of its digital television format in the first quarter of 2012.

During a roundtable discussion between President Aquino and Japanese leaders, Marubeni Corp., one of Japan’s major companies raised its concerns over the Digital TV issue in the Philippines, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma, Jr. said in a media briefing in Tokyo.

Coloma said that the President told Marubeni that the National Telecommunication Commission is still in the process of evaluating the issue given the rapid developments in communications technology.

Coloma said that when the issue was first raised last year, the dominant standard was the European standard. There was a Europe I standard and since then a Europe II standard has also come up and the President pointed out that the Philippines in the past adopted the betamax standard when the rest of the world had the VHS format, he said.

Settling the standard issues is the reason why the President wants a more deliberate technical evaluation process to ensure that there will be no disruption in the social or cultural aspect, Coloma explained.

“The President mentioned that watching television is a major activity among our people, even citing that during the political campaign, the schedule of rallies at night had to be synchronized with the schedule of the popular telenovelas,” Coloma said.

“He said we don’t want any disruption arising from technology mismatch and this is why he said that the process is still ongoing. He mentioned that the decision on the technical evaluation would be completed by the first quarter of 2012,” he added.

Top executives of Marubeni met the President Tuesday committing several big ticket projects in the country in partnership with major Philippine companies like San Miguel Corp. and Aboitiz Group of Companies. (PCOO)

Government ready to implement safety measures as two more typhoons are expected

Malacanang assured on Wednesday that the government has enough stand-by funds for the affected local government units (LGUs) and the people after typhoon Pedring battered Luzon saying it is ready to implement measures as two more typhoons are expected to enter the Philippines, a Palace official said.

"The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has enough stand-by funds for the relief goods that can be immediately released when necessary on top of the assistance of the DSWD regional offices to affected LGUs," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

While concerned government agencies are working hard to mitigate the effects of typhoon Pedring, Valte said that measures are now in place following the warning of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that two more typhoons are expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility in the coming days.

Typhoon Quiel and another typhoon are expected to enter the Philippines and the PAGASA issued the forecast as early as Tuesday. "Kahit naman po sa Pedring, two days pa lang bago dumating, nagbigay ng warning ang PAGASA," Valte said.

"Sa update in the aftermath of typhoon Pedring, the DSWD through regional offices nagprepositioned po ng food and non-food items allocations in five provinces namely Cagayan, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya Batanes and Isabela," she said.

DSWD OIC- Secretary Undersecretary Alicia R. Bala has directed all social welfare and development (SWAD) teams and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) to continue to coordinate with their counterparts in the affected LGUs to ensure quick provision of augmentation assistance, when necessary.

She said social workers were deployed in all evacuation centers to provide assistance to evacuees. Aside from helping in the search and rescue efforts, the Philippine National Police (PNP) also deployed "storm patrols" to ensure the safety of the evacuees in the evacuation centers.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) deployed assets and clearing teams in affected areas. The department in coordination with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also started repairing the damaged bridges and roads.

The Department of Health (DOH) placed its Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) and Centers for Health Development (CHDs) in the affected areas on code white alert.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection also assisted the local governments in evacuating people and the conduct of rescue and operations," she said.

Valte said the people learned their lessons from the past calamities and even cited the case of Marikina residents who decided to leave their houses even before the city imposed forced evacuation. (PCOO)

Aquino reiterates invitation to Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan to visit PHL

TOKYO, Japan: President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday reiterated his invitation to Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and other members of the Imperial Family of Japan to visit the Philippines at a mutually convenient opportunity.

The President echoed the reiteration of his official invitation during his State Call on His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito at the Audience Room of the Imperial Palace on Wednesday.

The President, who arrived at the Imperial Palace at 11: 20, was accompanied by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, and other officials.

After the State Call, the President also attended the State Luncheon tendered in his honor by His Imperial Majesty the Emperor.

Emperor Akihito is the eldest son and the fifth child of Emperor Hirohito (the Showa Emperor) and Empress Kojun. The Emperor and the Empress have three children, namely, His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince Naruhito, His Imperial Highness The Prince Akishino, and Her Imperial Highness Sayako Kuroda, formerly Her imperial Highness The Princess Sayako. (PCOO)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

PIA Dispatch - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aquino takes a hands-on aproach in dealing with typhoon back home

TOKYO, Japan: Despite his hectic schedule due to his four-day official working visit here, President Benigno S. Aquino III takes a hands-on approach, just like in the past, on the situation in the Philippines, which is presently battered by Typhoon Pedring.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma made this statement when asked about the reaction of President Aquino on Typhoon Pedring during a press briefing at the Tokyo Kaikan here.

Coloma said that the President is closely monitoring the typhoon back home and he is doing this during breaks or in-between his meetings with key Japanese businessmen which are part of his official working visit to Japan.

While attending the Philippine Economic Forum at the Tokyo, Kaikan Hotel here, President Aquino apologized for not having answered the added questions supposed to be fielded to him during the Q and A portion saying that "there is a typhoon visiting the Philippines right now and we are monitoring the situation to ensure that our people are safe."

"We will apologize for the time constraint. There is a typhoon visiting the Philippines right now and we are monitoring the situation to ensure that our people are safe. Thank you," the President said.

"We are getting timely, even more frequent updates from the Department of Science and Technology. We are now favored by a more accurate weather tracking and weather forecasting system.... Some equipment have been put in place," Coloma said.

Coloma stressed that what has really improved is the closer monitoring by the DOST, and the information is being disseminated very broadly across government so that our disaster risk reduction response capacity has really improved.

As of yesterday, Coloma said, all of the government agencies have already been mobilized through the Office of Civil Defense and NDRRMC headed by Gen. Benito Ramos. They are hands on, they are on the job, even while the President is abroad, the entire government machinery is in place and very much in control of the situation.

Coloma noted that during a stormy weather, like in the case of Typhoon Pedring, adequate warning is given in terms of time and also the proper evacuation facilities or temporary relocation facilities have been set up. "So, you can be certain that these are well in place and the people are properly informed," he added.

"I think what we would like to emphasize is that we are giving our citizens adequate information, and we are also keeping them out of harm's way through measures like suspension of classes, suspension of work and if they are already in harm's way we would like to give them direct assistance, such as those who are stranded or those who may have to be evacuated or relocated, that they are in properly provided evacuation or relocation centers.”

Confirming the President's being at the forefront of the typhoon in the Philippines, Coloma said : "As we sit in the business meetings, some of us also have our portable computer devices and monitoring the satellite photos ... he (the President) was shown the satellite photo of the extent of Pedring --- that it has a diameter of more than 600 kilometers which covers almost the entire of Luzon even if landfall is just in the Aurora and isabela. boundary."

"So you can be sure that it is being tracked very closely. This is also one of the reasons why the President wanted to devote more time talking with the authorities in Manila during this break in the schedule instead of prolonging the interaction here because he feels that this is a very urgent concern.”

Coloma recalled that there was a parallel situation during the President's last activity in the Singapore visit adding that, "that was the time when we became aware of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the President immediately took a hands on approach and contacted the Executive Secretary, the DOST secretary, and the NDRRMC head, Secretary Gazmin. And probably by now all of these coordination is taking place so that there is an effective response to the situation in the country."

"Si Pangulo naman ay parati namang nasa equilibrium situation. You can be certain that he is viewing this with a sense of urgency and with a sense of concern that we would really do what is needed in order to avoid damage to life and property," he said. (PCOO)

Aquino says government already working to address damage of typhoon Pedring

President Benigno S. Aquino III made an assurance Tuesday that the government is on top of the situation as Typhoon Pedring battered Luzon, devastating mostly agricultural areas.

“I am in constant touch with these members of my cabinet and the Executive Secretary has been instructed to keep me and the public informed of conditions pertaining as well as mitigation efforts,” the President said in a statement he issued in Japan.

The President is in Japan for a four-day official working visit there. He is due to arrive in Manila on Wednesday.

“I have been in touch with Secretaries Soliman, Gazmin, and Almendras. I have instructed the Executive Secretary to compile information from NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) and to inform our people of conditions as well as of government efforts to mitigate the effects of the storm,” he said.

The President said he was informed by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman about two typhoon-related casualties. He also got the report about severe flooding in Maguindanao.

The government has prepared and distributed relief packs to people in Mindanao who were affected by flooding there, he said.

In Camarines Sur and Albay, the President said preventive evacuations are ongoing. There is also the report of blackouts with 37 percent of Meralco service area without power due to tripping caused by high winds.

In Aurora and Isabela, the government is awaiting the passage of the storm to restore power service, he said.

The government is also closely monitoring the Marikina River although it is not yet in the critical level, President Aquino said adding there is ongoing voluntary evacuations of Marikina residents.

Typhoon Pedring slammed into the Philippines Tuesday, killing two persons as it brought heavy rain and strong wind that blew away roofs, uprooted small trees and toppled power lines.

The typhoon hit the northeastern side of Luzon before dawn, bringing maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour and gusts clocking in at 170 kilometers an hour, according to PAGASA.

It said that the provinces of Isabela and Aurora were the most heavily affected initially, although storm alerts were also issued in more than 40 other areas including Metro Manila. (PCOO)

Aquino welcomes Terumo Corporation pledge to expand operations in PHL

Tokyo, JAPAN: A Japanese firm famous for producing disposable syringes and hospital equipment presented on Tuesday a “letter of commitment” to President Benigno S. Aquino III, manifesting its desire to expand its current facilities in the country that would complement one of the administration’s priority projects in its public-private partnership (PPP) program.

President Aquino was paid a courtesy call by Terumo Corporation’s top officials at the Imperial Hotel Tuesday morning and they pledged to expand their investments in the country by further developing its factory in Biñan, Laguna and acquiring additional lands to build other facilities.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Terumo Corporation is “very upbeat” about its commitment to increase its current investments in the Philippines “because they like the work ethics of the Filipino workers that are also highly skilled”.

“They want to double or triple their workforce as soon as the new land or new space would have been acquired,” Coloma told reporters at a press briefing held at the Tokyo Kaikan after the roundtable discussion of the President with Japanese business leaders.

Coloma said syringes is one of the important products of Terumo Corporation and President Aquino noted that its commitment to expand its facilities in the Philippines is a “significant development” because this will complement the government’s plan to come up with a vaccination plant.

The establishment of a vaccination factory is among the four priority PPP projects laid out by the President to Japanese business leaders during their roundtable discussion. The other three include the creation of 10,000 school buildings, the Daang Hari SLEX Road construction, and the NLEX-SLEX connector.

Coloma did not give any figures as regards to the amount of investments Terumo Corporation would bring to the country. He said they would rather disclose the figures along with those that have been committed by other Japanese firms once they are through with all the business meetings lined up for the President.

Terumo Corporation was represented by its chairman and chief executive officer, Koji Nakao and president, Maki Takizawa whose letter of commitment was turned over by President Aquino to Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo.

Founded in 1921 by Dr. Kitasato Shibasaburo, Terumo Corporation started its business with manufacturing thermometers and it has since expanded to become one of the largest producers of medical devices globally.

Terumo Corporation opened its first overseas office in the United States in 1971, marking its first overseas expansion. It has since established subsidiaries in Europe, China, India, Philippines and Thailand.

Terumo Corporation holds its headquarters and factory in the Philippines at 124 East Main Avenue Laguna Technopark, Biñan, Laguna. Among their products include medical disposables, blood bags market, coronary stents, catheters and many others. (PCOO)

Monday, 26 September 2011

PIA Dispatch - Monday, September 26, 2011

Filipino-Japanese children surprise Aquino with wish of good health and success

TOKYO, Japan: Filipino-Japanese children wish President Benigno S. Aquino III good health to enable him to fulfill his goal of achieving a better future for the Filipino citizenry and the entire country as a whole.

The children’s wish for the President was just one of many contained in the Box of Tanzaku (meaning wishes and dreams) which they presented to the Chief executive during his attendance at a gathering with the Filipino community on Sunday at the main auditorium of the Japan Education Center here.

The President, who arrived here at the start of his four-day official working visit, personally received the Box of Tanzaku from the Filipino-Japanese children represented by three boys and three girls which highlighted the event. Aside from their wish for the Chief Executive, the box also contained the children’s dreams for themselves and the future of the Filipino children.

During the program, the Filipino-Japanese children also feted President Aquino with a cultural presentation showcasing their terpsichorean talents to the delight of the President, his official delegation and over 500 members of the Filipino community who attended the gathering.

According to the Philippine Embassy here, there are an estimated 250,000 Filipino overseas workers in various parts of Japan and 30,614 of them are in Tokyo.

In his message, the President shared his optimism with the Filipino community in Japan and urged them to represent the Philippines as ambassadors of goodwill to their host country. (PCOO)


Palace welcomes latest poll indicating Aquino has regained 'very good' net satisfaction rating

The latest survey showing that President Benigno S. Aquino III has regained “very good" net satisfaction rating is an indication that majority of Filipinos are experiencing the positive changes in the country, a Palace official said on Monday.

"In the most recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations from September 4 to 7, the President’s net satisfaction rating increased by ten points to +56 from +46 in June, enough for an upgrade in classification from “Good” to “Very Good,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Monday.

According to the survey, 70 percent of respondents are satisfied with the President’s performance as opposed to the 14 percent dissatisfied.

Lacierda said, "This is further evidence that the overwhelming majority of Filipinos who choose to keep open minds are clearly getting the President’s message; and that they are experiencing the positive changes in this country."

"We express our gratitude to the Filipino people for treading with us the straight and narrow path, believing and acting upon a singular idea: Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap," he said.

Malacanang welcomed the favorable results of the SWS survey, attributing it to the present administration's continuing efforts to remain focus on the eradication of corruption and the alleviation of poverty, according to Lacierda.

He noted, "We are aware that survey numbers have a tendency to vary from quarter to quarter, and assure the Filipinos that while we welcome these favorable results, we remain focused on our duties to our bosses—to alleviate poverty, to eradicate corruption, and to ultimately raise the quality of life of each Filipino." (PCOO)


Malacañang lauds improved weather forecasting system of PAGASA

Malacanang noted the considerable development in the government’s weather forecasting system and its efforts to avert any untoward effects of natural calamities saying it could be attributed to systems upgrade and reforms in the country’s official weather bureau.

In a media briefing at the Palace on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that as instructed by President Benigno S. Aquino III, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has been meticulously focusing on its responsibilities to ensure accuracy in its forecasts on the weather disturbances coming in and out of the country.

Lacierda said that the bureau has been accurate in its forecasts that enable other concerned agencies that include the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to pre-position the necessary supplies and actions for the benefit of the people.

“The instructions of the President have always been there, we’ve updated and upgraded the quality of forecasting of PAGASA and I think that’s a sea change... we’re now - I think to put it humbly we’re very accurate with respect to weather forecasting and for that reason we are able to preposition the goods properly and also the NDRRMC has been on the ball in every storm, in every situation, we have always relied on them,” Lacierda said.

“They have been very, very updated in whatever it is, whether it’s a storm, whether it’s a tsunami alert, the NDRRMC, the DSWD, the MMDA for instance in Metro Manila also has been very, very vigilant with respect to concerns in Metro Manila, DILG also… so all the agencies are working in tandem to make sure that we are able to address any natural calamity,” he added.

Lacierda also said that the President, who is currently in Japan for a four-day working visit, has been constantly updated on the situation in the country.

“President Aquino is constantly updated with what’s happening in the country not only with weather updates but also the situation here in the country,” Lacierda said.

At 4:00 a.m. today, Tropical Storm "Pedring" was estimated, based on satellite and surface data, at 260 kilometers East Northeast of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour. As it gained more strength, “Pedring” was upgraded into a typhoon threatening the provinces of Isabela-Aurora area.

On September 26, 2009, the country was devastated by typhoon “Ondoy” leaving over 300 casualties all over the country and massive destruction to properties and livelihood amounting to billions of pesos. (PCOO)


Aquino pledges US$1-M assistance to earthquake and tsunami victims in Ishinomaki, Japan

ISHINOMAKI, Japan -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday pledged a US$I-Million assistance for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami disasters in March 2011 in Ishinomaki, Japan and the city’s reconstruction program.

The Chief executive made the pledge during the turn-over ceremonies of the donation to Ishimiyaki City Mayor Hiroshi Kameyama at the Ishinimaki City Hall here.

Ishinomaki City was among the most seriously affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. A tsunami about 10 meters high traveled 600 meters inland and destroyed around 80 percent of the 700 houses in the coastal whaling port of Ayukawa and the district of Kadonawaki.

According to a fact sheet, approximately 46 percent of the city was inundated by the tsunami. One, elementary school, Okawa Elementary, was completely destroyed killing 74 of the 108 students and 10 of 13 teachers and staff.

The fact sheet also said that as of June 17, 2011, a total of 3,097 deaths have been confirmed in Ishinomaki City due to the tsunami, with some 2,770 unaccounted for. It added that approximately 29.000 city residents lost their homes

President Aquino personally handed over the pledge of assistance to Mayor Kameyama in the presence of other officials of the city, namely, vice mayor Etsuro Kitamura, Ishinomaki City Council chairperson Hiroshima Abe, and Parliamentary senior vice minister for Foreign Affairs Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, and the Philippine delegation led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma, and Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras among others.

"We would like to assist to the extent we are able to," the President said, through an interpreter, adding that the monetary assistance "is the pledge of the Filipino people and the government."

The President pointed out that the actual cash will be given by the Philippine Embassy in Japan through Ambassador Manolo Lopez.

As he turned over the letter containing the pledge of assistance to the Ishinomaki official, the President reiterated his sympathy for the losses.

"I also would like to thank you for taking good care of our Filipino nationals here. And again, we are prepared to assist to levels we are able to," the President noted.

Earlier, The President told the Ishinomaki Mayor that he "was in Singapore when the twin disasters took place in Japan. "I was shocked to see the photos and images on television. Our country was compelled to render assistance to Japan immediately," he said.

Because of the magnitude of the disaster, the President stressed that he immediately sent a letter to the Japanese Prime Minister extending his government's and the Filipino people's sympathy and assistance. He likewise mentioned other forms of assistance such as a medical team to help the victims as Japan proceeded with its reconstruction.

According to the President, Japan and the Philippines have been visited by a lot of disasters and, overtime, it happened that Japan was always there to help the Philippines. This year, Japan has provided the Philippines some 9.2 Billion Yen in Official Development Assistance.

In response, Ishinomaki City Mayor Kameyama thanked President Aquino for the help and then ushered him to view a photo exhibit that showed the damages wrought by the earthquake and tsunami to the city of Ishinomaki.

Later, the President also met with the Filipino community at the Ishinomaki Catholic Church and Kindergarten Building.

In his brief message, the President reiterated to the Filipino community the US$1-Million pledge he had committed to the city of Ishinomaki for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami and for its reconstruction. (PCOO)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

PIA Dispatch - Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aquino arrives in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday on a journey of friendship, trade, economic and bilateral ties

TOKYO, Japan: President Benigno S. Aquino III arrives here Sunday afternoon to further cement the country's existing friendship, economic and bilateral relations with the Japanese government during his four-day official working visit from September 25 to 28.

The Chief Executive, who will be accompanied by members of his economic team led by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and a powerhouse of Philippine business delegation (numbering over a hundred), arrives at the Haneda Airport on board a Philippine Airlines Flight PR001 from Manila.

Shortly after simple arrival ceremonies at the airport, the Chief Executive will immediately proceed to meet with the Filipino community at the Japan Education Center's Auditorium.

In a prepared program for the occasion, President Aquino will be welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Ambassador Manuel Lopez. There will also be an audio visual presentation on the Philippine Embassy-Filipino Community Assistance to the victims of in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. This will be followed by a cultural dance presentation by the Filipino-Japanese children. After the presentation, three boys and three girls will present to President Aquino the Box of Tanzaku (box of wishes and dreams). Then the President will deliver his message for the Filipino community in Japan.

The President is expected to apprise the Filipinos working in Japan about new positive developments and transformation of the Philippines and to thank them for their hard work particularly on their contributions to the country's economic progress.

According to the Philippine Embassy here, there are an estimated 250,000 Filipino overseas workers in various parts of Japan and 30,614 of which are in Tokyo.

He is also set to make a trip to the Tohoku Region particularly the Sendai City, Ishinomaki and the Kadonawaki coastal area which were heavily affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Ishinomaki is a city located in the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan.

As he sets foot at the Sendai station, the President will be welcomed by its officials. He will then proceed to the Ishinomaki City Hall where the Ishinomaki mayor will pay a courtesy call on him.

The President then will separately visit the Kadonawaki Junior High School Evacuation Center and the nearby Ishinomaki Catholic Church Kindergarten Building where he will also meet with the Filipino community and deliver a brief message. (PCOO)


Aquino to pitch for more investments from Japan

TOKYO, Japan – Determined on improving the lives of millions of Filipinos back home, President Benigno S. Aquino III will pitch for more investments from key Japanese businessmen to infuse their capital in the Philippines particularly in his administration’s Public-Private Partnership infrastructure program when he arrives here on Sunday for a four-day official working visit.

The Chief Executive will be accompanied by his Cabinet economic team headed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and over a hundred Filipino business executives who will likewise assist him in luring Japanese investors to invest in the Philippines.

The President is expected to make the pitch when he delivers his speech at the Philippine Economic Forum before Japanese business leaders on the topic "Socioeconomic Forum in the Philippines."

Aside from this, the President is expected to brief big Japanese business organizations on the economic development and vital economic reforms that he had instituted, including his policies on good governance, since he assumed office in June 2010, when he will personally meet with them separately during the course of his visit. All these business meetings will take place at the Imperial Hotel where he is billeted.

Among these organizations that President Aquino is expected to meet are the top brass of the Terumo Corporation, the Marubeni Corporation, the Toyota Motor Corporation, the "Pocket Mon," the Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., the Ichijo Co. Ltd., and the Mitsui and Co. Ltd..

The President is going to echo the same pitch that the Philippines is now open for business when he attends the roundtable discussion with officials and members of the Japan Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee (JPECC) and during the luncheon hosted by the Japan and Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the JPECC at the 11th and 12th Floor of the Tokyo, Kaikan respectively.

For several decades, Japan has been the second largest trading partner of the Philippines. Since 2010, Japan ranked as the No. 1 export market and import source of the country, which makes Japan the No. 1 trading partner of the Philippines with total trade in 2010 amounting to US$14.5 billion. (PCOO)


Aquino leaves for official working visit to Japan

President Benigno S.Aquino III left Sunday morning for a four-day working visit to Japan which will focus on strengthening the diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries and share the ‘good news’ that has been happening in the Philippines under his leadership.

The President, joined by a lean delegation, embarked on Philippine Airlines chartered flight PR 001 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. The group left for Tokyo at nine in the morning.

In his brief message prior to their departure, President Aquino said he will share with the world the reforms that the government has been and continuously implementing to push for sustainable progress and development that will result to better living standards for the Filipino people.

“Ito po ang layunin ng pagbisita natin: ang maitanglaw sa mundo ang bagong liwanag ng pagbabagong tinatamasa ng bansa natin ngayon,” President Aquino said.

“Ang maipakilala ang isang Pilipinas na diretso nang tumatawid sa landas ng mabuting pamamahala; isang Pilipinas na mas bukas, mas maaliwalas, at mas patas nang lugar sa pagnenegosyo; isang Pilipinas na handang makipagbayanihan sa ibang bansa tungo sa isang mas maunlad na kinabukasan,” he added.

The Chief Executive will be dealing with a busy schedule during the visit, that includes a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

“Nakatakda tayong makipagpulong sa kagalang-galang na Punong Ministro ng Japan na si Yoshihiko Noda upang patatagin ang ugnayan ng ating dalawang bansa, at balangkasin ang direksiyon ng ating patuloy na pagtutulungan tungo sa kaunlaran ng ating mga lipunan,” the President said.

“Nananabik po tayo sa mga magaganap na talakayan, sa magiging palitan ng mga ideya, at umaasa po tayong magbubunga ito ng ilang mga kasunduan at paglalagda,” he added.

The President also said that he will convey the Philippines' sympathies with the Japanese people for their loss from the March 11 quake and tsunami.

In Tokyo, Aquino is set to meet with members of the Filipino community shortly after his arrival at the Haneda Airport to jump-start his four-day official working visit.

Several meetings with the Japanese business groups are also in line to seek for more investments in the country.

Included in the Presidential Delegation are Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” B. Coloma, Jr.

Some members of the Cabinet were present as part of the send-off party led by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles, Commission on Higher Education Secretary Patricia Licuanan, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman FrancisTolentino, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Also in attendance were other government officials that include Senator Franklin Drilon and Armed Forces of the Philippines officials led by Chief of Staff General Eduardo Oban Jr., and Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Ramon Liwag.

The President is expected to arrive in Japan at 2 p.m. today. (PCOO)


Phl envoy to Japan underscores role of the country in the ongoing reconstruction of Japan

Tokyo, JAPAN: In a gesture of solidarity, the Philippine government will play a role in the ongoing reconstruction of Ishinomaki City Hall through a donation that will be turned over by no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III to its city mayor when he visits the Miyagi Prefecture on Monday, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said.

Ishinomaki City is among the areas that were severely devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami off the Pacific coast of Tohoku region in the eastern part of Japan where there are also quite a number of Filipinos residing there, Lopez said in an interview.

“I think it is only fitting that the Philippines play a role in the reconstruction of that area," Lopez stressed said.

According to Lopez, The President will be giving a donation to the Mayor of Ishinomaki for the reconstruction of their city hall that was devastated during the tsunami.

“So makikibagay tayo with the local community and at the same time I think, the President, magpapasalamat din siya to the local officials for taking care of our nationals who were affected by both the earthquake and the tsunami,” he added.

Lopez said the President also recommended that some of the assistance that the Philippines managed to extend Ishinomaki City earlier, like the doctors, be kept to further aid our citizens until their complete recovery from the trauma brought by the tragedy.

“Talagang kailangan na kailangan nila and since marami tayong mga kababayan doon, nakakatulong na rin sila hindi lang doon sa ating mga nationals kundi pati na rin sa mga Japanese na nangangailangan din ng tulong ng mga psychologists natin,” Lopez said.

Apart from medical support, the Philippine government has extended other forms of assistance to Ishinomaki City right after the quake, like relief goods that include bottled water, blankets and other items for those who were displaced.

Lopez described the relationship between Japan and the Philippines as “a very special” one, adding that “it is probably at its best right now” since Japan is the biggest contributor of official development assistance funds to the Philippines.

“[They] are also the biggest foreign direct investors in our country, and even as employers of Filipinos in the Philippines, sila na siguro ang pinakamalaki ngayon sa bansa natin of all the different countries. So, napakaimportante ng role ng Japan sa ating bayan ngayon plus, it goes without saying that Japan is the host country of 220,000 Filipinos or probably even more, who now reside in Japan…, who call Japan their home,” he said further. (PCOO)


Filipinos in Japan are excited to welcome President Aquino

Tokyo, JAPAN: The Filipino community here are “excited” to meet President Benigno S. Aquino III again this Sunday when he arrives for his scheduled engagement with them, in his first official working visit here. He attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting held here last year.

In an interview with Radio TV Malacañang, Maria Barro, a Filipino entertainer in Japan conveyed that she and her fellow Filipinos are all looking forward to see President Aquino once again, noting that some of them will take this opportunity to address their “requests” to the Philippine leader.

President Aquino has met with the Filipino community members in Tokyo late last year following his attendance of the 18th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting which was held in Yokohama.

“Maganda naman ‘yung acceptance ng mga Filipinos dito sa kanya pero…syempre, hindi natin masasabi, may mga Filipino talaga na maraming request—maraming gustong sabihin at maraming gustong ipaabot sa Presidente natin na eto ‘yung kailangan namin,” Barro said.

Barro said the primary request of the Filipino community here is to have a Catholic school built for Filipinos and Filipino-Japanese children that can provide the same quality of education as the schools back in the Philippines.

“Siyempre, hindi lahat-lahat ma-a-address at nakita naman namin kay PNoy na willing siyang pakinggan especially ang hiling ng mga Pilipino dito sa Japan ay magkaroon ng eskwelahan para sa mga Pilipino,” she said.

Barro said that she, together with her daughter, will be participating in the ‘big presentation’ being prepared by the Filipino community for the President when they meet him this Sunday afternoon and they are excited about that as well.

Barro was among the Filipinos who took part in the humanitarian services rendered by the Philippine Embassy when tragedies struck Japan about six months ago saying that what happened during its aftermath was a picture of ‘unity’ for both the Filipino and the Japanese communities.

“Lahat ng Filipino communities natin dito— from the leader to the members—lahat sila nakisama sa pangongolekta ng relief [goods], pagluluto ng pagkain, hanggang pinuntahan nila ‘yung mga tao…sa mga affected areas—‘yung mga Filipino sa affected areas,” Barro recalled.

Barro noted that she herself did flew back to the Philippines when the radiation leak scare broke out following the nuclear power plant explosion at the Fukushima Prefecture but she returned after everything went back to normal.

“Actually, umuwi ako ng Pilipinas ‘nun dahil medyo natakot din ako kasi I have my own family in the Philippines. Pero pagbalik ko dito, nakita ko parang business as usual, kahit medyo humina ‘yung mga companies that target the Filipino market,” she said.

On Monday, President Aquino is also scheduled to meet with another group of Filipinos in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture that was badly hit by the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake. (PCOO)