Monday, 21 November 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, November 21, 2011

PHL, Korea sign five agreements for development assistance

The Philippines and Korea further solidified its relations spanning 60 years by signing five agreements on furthering agriculture, electricity, and development assistance between the two countries.

The signing ceremony was held at Malacañang’s Reception Hall on the occasion of the three-day State Visit of Republic of Korea President Lee Myung-Bak to the Philippines on Monday.

The first two agreements, signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan, center on simplifying the processing and obtaining of loans and grants.

The Framework Agreement for Grant Aid between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of Korea will facilitate the processing of grant projects while the Framework Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund for the Years 2011 through 2013 enables the Philippine government to obtain soft loans of up to $500-million from the Republic of Korea.

The third agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Energy and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy involves the setting up of a power plant in the Subic Bay Economic Zone using environment friendly technology to address the medium-term and long-term projected electricity needs of the Luzon grid.

This agreement was signed between DoE Secretary Jose Almendras and Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk Woo.

The fourth and fifth agreements are between the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines, Agriculture Minister Suh Kyu-yong and the Korea Export Import Bank President Kim Yong-hwan.

The MoU between the Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the Multi-Industry Cluster Project in the Philippines is a type of public-private partnership business where the efficient use of agricultural resources of both counties is promoted while the MoU between the DA and Korea EXIM Bank on the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II is an irrigation project intended to significantly contribute to sustaining rice self-sufficiency levels by 2013.

Presidents Aquino and Lee witnessed the signing of the agreements.

In his speech, President Aquino cited the strengthening relations between the two countries and vowed to “steadily advance our bilateral relationship to reach even greater heights.”

“I have full confidence that our meeting this morning has helped position our two countries towards a more positive, dynamic and nurturing friendship that will best serve the mutual interest of the Filipino and Korean peoples,” President Aquino said.

For his part, President Lee cited the “limitless potential” the Philippines has due to its highly skilled labor force and abundance of natural resources.

“And in that regard, cooperation between Korea and the Philippines is also limitless as well,” President Lee said.

The Republic of Korea is the fifth largest trade partner of the Philippines with bilateral trade reaching $6.08-million in 2010. It is also the third top investor in the Philippines with investments reaching $691.3-million. (PCOO)

South Korean President lauds President Aquino's inclusive growth policy

Visiting Republic of Korea President Lee Myung Bak conveyed his ‘deepest admiration’ to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his policy of inclusive growth which enabled the country’s economy to remain upbeat despite the ongoing global economic crisis.

President Lee, who is on a three-day state visit to the Philippines, paid a courtesy call on President Aquino in Malacañang Monday morning which was followed by an expanded bilateral talk with their respective Cabinet members where the two leaders exchanged views and conveyed gratitude to each other.

In a statement issued after the signing of five agreements for development assistance between Korea and the Philippines at Malacañang’s Reception Hall, President Lee said the 7.6 economic growth posted by the Aquino administration is an “outstanding number” envied by other economies.

“Despite the global economic crisis that all of the countries are going through, the Philippine economy posted remarkable growth: 7.6 percent. This is an outstanding number as the envy of many countries around the world and also you are on a path towards continuous growth,” he said.

President Lee credited this particular achievement by President Aquino based on the “tremendous vision and resolve” he has demonstrated toward implementing this inclusive growth policy in order to provide Filipino people with a better future and prosperity for all.

President Aquino, for his part, noted that the Republic of Korea is the Philippines’ fifth largest trade partner with bilateral trade reaching $6.08 billion and was the third top investor in the country last year with investments that reached $693.1 million.

“The Republic of Korea and its business sector have continued to display confidence in the economic prospects and opportunities found in the Philippines and, for this, I thank them,” President Aquino said.

Bilateral relations between the Republic of Korea and the Philippines in terms of trade prospects are expected to grow following the agreements signed involving the agriculture and energy departments of both countries. (PCOO)

President Aquino commends Korea's foreign workforce program

President Benigno S. Aquino III commended on Monday Republic of Korea’s foreign workforce introduction program that ensures the proper treatment of overseas Filipino workers employed in South Korea.

In a statement read during the State Visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-BaK in Malacañang Monday morning, President Aquino said Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) will also ensure that OFWs receive benefits in relation to their jobs.

“I commend the exemplary foreign workforce introduction program of the Republic of Korea, called the Employment Permit System, or the EPS, which earned the United Nations Public Service Award last June,” President Aquino said.

“The EPS system ensures that the more than 20,000 Filipinos working in the ROK will receive the proper treatment and the benefits commensurate to the critical jobs they perform toward the growth of the Korean economy,” he added.

The Republic of Korea is the fifth largest trade partner of the Philippines with bilateral trade reaching $6.08-million in 2010. It is also the third top investor in the Philippines with investments reaching $691.3-million. (PCOO)

Strengthening relations between PHL, Korea underscore need to "seize" more investment opportunities – Aquino

The more than 60 years of relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea that has been marked by ever increasing trade and exchanges stressed the need to further extract “much greater investment opportunities” for the two countries, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday.

In his speech keynoting the Korea-Philippine Business Forum at the Manila Hotel Monday afternoon, the President said these investments can be made in the fields of agriculture, education, travel, health services, and communications.

The Republic of Korea is the fifth largest trade partner of the Philippines with bilateral trade reaching $6.08-million in 2010. It is also the third top investor in the Philippines with investments reaching $691.3-million.

“These figures underscore the importance of seizing much greater investment opportunities for our countries in the years to come engaging an expanded trade both in volume, value and variety of goods,” the President said.

“As the quality of life in Korea continues to improve, the demand for services in the fields of education, travel, health services, and communications are also increasing,” he added.

The President further pointed out that since Korea imports around 70 percent of its agricultural product needs, greater business prospects for Filipino exporters of agricultural products, such as frozen vegetables, sauce preparations, confectionaries, fishery and fresh fruits, are opening up.

“Now with a stable economic environment, a credible government and a talented hardworking workforce that is highly proficient in English, the Philippines has never been in such excellent position to offer boundless opportunities for Korean investments,” the President said.

“Indeed, the Philippines is now open for business, and I’m encouraging each and everyone of you to be part of it. The growing number of Korean businesses in the Philippines that are thriving and showing strength in agriculture and fishery, in renewable energy, in shipbuilding, in tourism, medium and small enterprises, garments and textiles and PPP projects should easily clear any doubt or apprehension looming above anybody’s head,” he added. (PCOO)

Aquino, President Lee affirm commitment to enhance bilateral relations

President Benigno S. Aquino III and the visiting South Korean President Lee Myung Bak on Monday affirmed commitment to take the longstanding bilateral relations between their countries to even “greater heights” as the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation on various fronts.

The two leaders were engaged in an expanded bilateral talk on Monday morning where they discussed broad ranging topics and had an in-depth exchange of views on how to enhance the Philippines-Republic of Korea bilateral relations.

President Aquino said he and President Lee noted the productive meetings they had at the sidelines of the recently concluded 6th East Asia Summit held in Bali, Indonesia where they both reaffirmed their commitment to enhance regional cooperation through the ASEAN framework.

While keeping each other posted on developments in the Korean peninsula and the West Philippine Sea, both leaders expressed interest on further enhancing defense cooperation in an effort to come up with peaceful solutions on the separate conflicts that their countries are currently involved in.

“On defense cooperation, I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain some specific defense articles such as military grade helicopters, boats, and aircrafts. This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” President Aquino said in his statement.

For his part, President Lee said that “there were many issues that we talked about including maritime issues involving both of our countries and we agreed that we will continue to work together so that we can peacefully resolve this issue according to international rule, norms, and standards.”

President Lee thanked President Aquino for his steadfast support following the Chonan attack where one of their navy vessels sank and also the shelling of the Yongpyong Island by the North Koreans.

“The Filipino government has always been there by Koreans’ side providing instantaneous support and we showed our tremendous appreciation to His Excellency and the members of his government for their continuous support which is greatly appreciated by everyone in Korea,” the South Korean Leader said.

“We also agreed to continue our cooperation in order to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue thereby ushering in a genuine era of peace and stability to our region,” he added.

Both the Republic of Korea and the Philippines have enjoyed strong friendship and partnership since 1949—a year after the Korean War—where the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea played a vital role in helping the Koreans defend their freedom.

“Just a year after establishing diplomatic relationship, the young soldiers here from the Philippines came all the way to Korea to help us defend against communist aggression and help us defend our freedom and our democracy and for this we will always remain eternally grateful,” President Lee said. (PCOO)