Sunday, 13 November 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aquino debunks claims that Phl government has not been nice to the 'Big Brother'

President Benigno S. Aquino III debunked claims that the Philippine government has "not been nice to the Big Brother,” referring to the People's Republic of China.

"If you look at tourism, we sent about 800,000 Filipinos out of our population of 95 million to China. China reciprocates by sending us 200,000," the Chief Executive said in response to reports enunciated by a Chinese national to the President that the Philippines was not very nice to the Big Brother during the Panel Discussion on Commodity Security for Economic Growth on Friday (November 11, Honolulu time) at the Sheraton Waikiki here.

"So in terms of balance of trade and tourism we’ve sent a lot more than China sends to us. In terms of direct investments, we have 2.5 billion dollars in direct investment to China; we get 600 million so far from China. So I think we have invested more in China than China has invested in us, although China’s economy is way, way beyond ours,” the President said.

According to the President, it would be unfair to say that the Philippines has not been a good brother to the Big Brother adding that "I think we have demonstrated time and again."

The President noted that as a government, "we’re tasked not to look at the short term but rather the longer term and lay the groundwork for future interventions."

He said that while "we agree that China is a very dominant economic player in the world’s stage play but there’s a saying that says don’t put all of your eggs in one basket."

"China does have to fund its purchases also by its own trade with the rest of the world, and therefore anything that redounds to grow in the world’s economy should be something that the Philippines is... into doing and actually doing something about," he added.

The President also said that the government is focused on really maximizing the utility from various advantages, chief of which is human resource capital.

"We will invest further and further in improving this lot and we participate in global forums like APEC primarily because we do believe that the problems have a commonality, and a common solution is necessary if we are to effect long-term solutions to all of us," he concluded. (PCOO)

Aquino says Phl employing new tact in handling food security concerns

President Benigno S. Aquino III stressed that the Philippines under his helm is employing a totally different orientation in all fields especially on food security which, he said, is part of the "transformative character of our administration."

The Chief Executive made this statement in response to a question fielded to him by the moderator at the panel discussion on commodity security for economic growth. How has he addressed food security and how far has his government gone in that path? The panel discussion was held at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel here on Friday.

"In terms of food security, I'm very pleased to note that our agricultural minister has already given us a guarantee, number one, that there is no need for further importation of rice," the President said.

"With the next harvest which is due January, we will have an excess over that which is mandated as strategic reserve in terms of rice. And what was done was not radical changes but rather just doing what was necessary," he stressed.

He cited as examples the government's move in providing certified or genuine seeds, offering basic inputs that would help upland farmers in their marketing campaign and in not making it profitable to import. The concern was to control dependence on imported rice and in the process guarantee food production and security.

According to the President, all these basic steps have led to the "three quarters of bumper harvest that gives us that measure over and above that which is necessary for the first quarter of 2012."

The President also described as "truly encouraging" that there are neighboring countries that have signified so much interest in participating in the country's agricultural sector.

In closing the President emphasized that "we are trying to become a country that is extremely business friendly, that will maximize the potentials inherent to our country and most of all something that is geared towards our people, who we believe is the greatest resource we have." (PCOO)

Aquino says American company to start developing natural gas field in northern Philippines next year

President Benigno S. Aquino III announced on Friday here that a United States company will start developing a natural gas field in the northern part of the Philippines next year.

President Aquino made the announcement during a panel discussion on commodity security for economic growth at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit held at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel here in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The President is here in Hawaii for a three-day working visit to join the other 20 APEC leaders for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to discuss relevant issues, including growth and jobs, regulatory reform and competitiveness, and energy efficiency and energy security.

“In terms of energy, we are second to America in exploiting geothermal resources. We have managed to have several other countries sharing the expertise that we do already have,” the President said in a response to a question fielded by a moderator during the panel discussion.

“There is a new field that is going to start next year by an American company in the northern portion of the Philippines. There’s substantial gas deposits that we believe are already on the proven scale that will dwarf the existing Malampaya oil fields,” he added.

The President said that some of the fields are part of the disputed areas and that the Philippines is currently working on steps to determine if these are consistent with the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

President Aquino also expressed hope that all the signatory-countries will adhere to UNCLOS, which provides that a state’s exclusive economic zone extends to 200 miles from its continental shelf.

“We are hoping that all the signatories of the United Nations Convention will adhere to the stipulations of the convention and among them are the 200-mile exclusive economic zone,” he said.

The President also said that there are also “various mechanisms” to settle the issue on the disputed areas “once and for all” and to have the resources benefit not only the Philippines but neighboring countries as well. (PCOO)

Aquino stresses need for stricter rules for mining in the Philippines

President Benigno S. Aquino III has emphasized the need for stricter rules for mining in the Philippines to protect the environment from potential damage as well as the safety of the people.

“We are in a period of tightening the rules,” President Aquino said during a panel discussion on commodity security for economic growth at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit here.

The President cited the increased in fines for mining companies that have committed safety and environmental violations as among the measures that the Philippine government has adopted.

The President cited that the fines for mining safety violations is too small compared to the hundred of millions they earn.

“Versus the profit they make, the fine is such a pittance,” President Aquino said when asked by a moderator how the Aquino administration tightens the rules for mining operations in the Philippines.

The President is in Honolulu, Hawaii to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting here from November 11 to 13 which is hosted by the United States. (PCOO)