Sunday, 18 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, November 16, 2012

Aquino enjoys strong support from Filipino community in Cambodia, Philippine envoy to Cambodia says
 (PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) President Benigno S. Aquino III and his administration have tremendous support from Filipinos working or living in Cambodia particularly because of his reform initiatives and anti-corruption agenda, Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia Noe Wong said.

“The Filipinos here have high admiration to the Philippine government under President Aquino in his fight against corruption as well as in the government’s effort to improve the economic situation in the country. I am very confident about it,” Wong told the Radio TV Malacanang (RTVM) in an interview at the Philippine Embassy here on Thursday.

Filipinos here in Cambodia are gainfully employed, Wong said. Most of them are working in the garments and textile sector, as well as academic institutions. Many are professionals working as teachers, consultants, engineers, and tutors. These professionals could be around 700 or 800, Wong said adding that their edge over other nationalities is their fluency in speaking English.

Wong said that other jobs are in hotels and restaurants, casinos and gambling establishments, civil society organizations, non-government organizations, and volunteer works in missionary organizations.

“So we are really proud that we Filipinos are much better here (compared to those in other countries),” he stressed.

Wong said that officially, there are 3,497 Filipinos in Cambodia adding that these are the Filipinos who registered in the consular office or in the Philippine embassy. Including those who are undocumented, the figure could be between 5,000 to 6,000, he noted.

 President Aquino is set to arrive here on Saturday to participate in the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Other Related Summits. Leaders participating in the event will meet November from 18 to 20. PND (as)

Philippines, Cambodia to sign agreement to combat transnational crime, terrorism
 (PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) The Philippines and Cambodia will sign an agreement to combat transnational crime and terrorism, the Philippine ambassador to Cambodia said on Thursday.

Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia Noe Wong told Radio TV Malacanang in an interview Thursday that the Philippines and Cambodia have finished the draft review of the Memorandum of Agreement on Combating Transnational Crime and Terrorism and the two countries are ready to sign it after the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit here in Phnom Penh.

“Both countries, Cambodia and the Philippines have completed the review of that draft and both parties agreed on that draft. What is left is the formal signing of that MOA," Wong said.

While both countries are working out on the venue of the signing, whether it would be in Phnom Penh or in Manila, Wong said that the agreement might be signed by December this year or by the first quarter of 2013.

According to the Philippine envoy, Cambodia has shown an inclination to sign the MOA in the Philippines.

The Philippines and Cambodia have been working together to strengthen their bilateral relations particularly through the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC). Under JCBC, the two countries review all the agreements agreed in the past several years to track the implementation.

Among them is the initiative to combat transnational crimes within their borders.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Cambodian National Police will work together once the MOA is signed to fight transnational crimes and terrorism.

Organized crime rings in Asia and Africa are real menace in the region. They are involved in everything from prostitution and human and drug trafficking, as well as pornography, financial scams, computer crimes, genocide and terrorism.
 Most of these organized gangsters have ties to South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Wong noted that aside from fighting crime and terrorism, the Philippines and Cambodia are also working closely together for enhanced cultural, agricultural and educational relations.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is set to arrive here in Phnom Penh on Saturday to join fellow leaders of the ASEAN as well as their other dialogue partners for the 21st Asean Summit and Other Related Summits. PND (as)

ASEAN posts significant gains in 2012, says Ambassador Wong
 (PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has made progress in attaining regional stability and stronger cooperation despite some challenges that comes its way particularly the West Philippine Sea issue, the Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia here said on Thursday.

In an interview with Radio TV Malacanang at the Philippine Embassy here, Ambassador Noe Wong said that the ASEAN has made significant gains in attaining one community by 2015.

“There are contentious issues. But overall, I could say that positively we are making progress towards attaining a single community. The contentious issues are only part of the so many issues that we are going to consider," Ambassador Wong said.

According to ambassador Wong, despite some roadblocks, ASEAN, as a regional organization, posted gains in several areas such as human rights, disaster risk management, connectivity, tourism, culture, pandemics and many others.

“Overall, I could safely say that the ASEAN has a group whichever is the chair is progressing toward this goal of establishing one community by 2015,” he said.

So far, the ASEAN as an organization has made progress in the three pillars of the ASEAN community that include the ASEAN political security community, economic community, and the socio-cultural community, Wong explained. Cambodia, this year’s chairman, adopted the summit theme “One Community, One Destiny.”

Commenting on Cambodia’s chairmanship this year, Wong said that with Cambodia success in leading this year’s regional event would be the success of every ASEAN-member country.

He noted that ASEAN is one of the cornerstones of Philippine foreign policy and the Philippines will actively participate take part in whatever endeavor to attain the single ASEAN community by 2015.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is arriving here in Cambodia on Saturday to join fellow ASEAN leaders in the 21st ASEAN Summit. He and other leaders of ASEAN are also expected to meet their dialogue partners in other related summits.

The President is expected to push for a stronger maritime security and cooperation, protection and welfare of migrant workers, as well as human rights when he participates in the summit. PND (as)

Passage of Reproductive Health Bill to help country achieve health-related targets in Millennium Development Goals, Malacanang says
 The passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill will help the Philippines achieve its health-related targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a Palace official said on Friday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang following reports that the country's five biggest business groups called on the Senate and the House of Representatives to “pass into law without further delay 'The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011,' as embodied in House Bill 4244 and Senate Bill 2865.”

In a joint statement, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), Makati Business Club (MBC), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said they “strongly believe that government must encourage responsible parenthood and promote family planning as a direct strategy for poverty reduction and maternal and child healthcare."

"That will depend on the congressmen on how they will take that push from the big companies that have already banded together," Valte said when asked to comment on the business groups' joint statement.

While various groups underscored the need to pass the RH bill to help the government reduce poverty levels and increase GDP (Gross Domestic Product), Valte stressed that the bill is important for the Philippines to achieve its health-related targets in the Millennium Development Goals, like maternal health and infant mortality. PND (js)

IMF Managing Director cites Philippines and other emerging markets’ role to global growth
 International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde cited the “critical role” played by the Philippines and other emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region in driving global growth which she said has helped stabilize the economies of this part of the world.

 Lagarde, who is on a two-day visit to the Philippines, told reporters in a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday that this critical role could be used and reviewed by other economies as a way to stabilize theirs from the effects of an economic crisis sweeping the globe.

 “Emerging Asia countries such as the Philippines have been playing a critical role in the last few years. When you look at their contribution to global growth, it’s very significant particularly in the tough years that we have just gone through,” Lagarde said.

 “Second, countries that have gone through crisis particularly in the Asia-Pacific can certainly teach lessons and share their experience of how to pull out of the crisis,” she added.

 She pointed out that the Philippines, despite global turmoil swirling around and bringing down economies of bigger countries, have been able to post positive growth in the last couple of years.

 She said that the administration of President Beningo S. Aquino III and the fiscal reforms implemented in the last two years are the main reason for the robust economic growth being experienced by the country.

 “This is due in no little part to the excellent policy mix deployed both by the Secretary of Finance and the Central Bank of the Philippines, and the combination of sound fiscal policy as well as sound monetary policy,” Lagarde said.

 President Aquino has expressed confidence the Philippines will be able to attain its growth target of between 5 and 6 percent this year, 6 and 7 percent in 2013, and at least 7 percent in the succeeding years. PND (rck)

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde lauds country's resiliency in achieving economic progress
 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde lauded the Philippines for achieving economic progress amids the global economic uncertainty.

 "I congratulate the Filipino authorities for their excellent economic stewardship during difficult times. Credit is also due to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for containing inflation and ensuring financial stability," Lagarde said during the press briefing in Malacanang on Friday.

 The Philippines is the only country that the IMF raised its growth forecast for this year, Lagarde said.

 "In the last decade, the Philippines has managed to have an average growth of about five percent. This year 2012, at a very difficult time because of the financial crisis in other parts of the world, the Philippines is probably the only country of which we have increased the growth forecast as opposed to other places in the world where we actually decreased our forecast," she said.

 Lagarde also noted that the Philippines managed to achieve resilient and inclusive growth due to its good policies and reforms.

 "Thanks to these good policies and reforms, the Philippines has become a vibrant emerging market that is approaching investment-grade status," she said.

 "Looking ahead, we share the government's view that growth must benefit a broader section of the population. This means continuing to improve governance, upgrade infrastructure and boost spending on education and social safety nets. It will also be necessary to deepen reforms to improve the investment climate," she said

 The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Lagarde's visit to the country solidifies the country's partnership with the IMF in pursuing a stable monetary and financial system of the country. Lagarde arrived in the Philippines last Thursday.

 The Philippines, through the BSP, will continue to be supportive of regional and international initiatives in pursuit of sustainable and equitable economic development. PND (js)