Sunday, 4 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, November 4, 2012


Philippines to woo investors from Lao People's Democratic Republic to see for themselves what the country has to offer during the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting
 
 VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic – The Philippines is expected to woo businessmen from Lao People's Democratic Republic to invest in the country during President Benigno S. Aquino III’s attendance to the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM9) here from November 5 to 6.

 President Aquino is expected to showcase the Philippines as “Open for Business” to potential Lao PDR investors by promoting sectors where they can invest in, particularly sectors in agriculture, textile, mining, energy and tourism.

 According to the Philippines National Statistic Coordination Data (PNSCD), now is the best time for Lao PDR businesses to invest in the country as there has been no recorded investment by Laotian businesses in the Philippines since 2010.

 “However, the Philippines hopes to strengthen its relationship with Lao PDR through the promotion of specific sectors such as in agriculture, textile, mining, energy and tourism,” the PNSCD said.

 The PNSCD said that in 2011 total trade between the two countries was pegged at US$698,597 with exports and imports recorded at US$611,476 and US$87,121; respectively.

 Exports to Lao PDR consisted of cigarette paper, medicaments containing vitamin C, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, disinfectants and semiconductor devices (diodes). PND (rck)


Government allots P8.9-M for President Aquino's participation at the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting in Lao PDR
 
 The government has set aside around P8.9 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s participation at the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) which will be held in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) from November 5 to 6, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Sunday.

 The Chief Executive left Sunday afternoon for Vientiane to attend the ASEM 9, his first since assuming the presidency in 2010, and pursue stronger political and economic ties with other leaders from Asia and Europe.

 He is accompanied by a 60-member official delegation that includes Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, incoming Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, PCOO Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

 Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Maria Lumen Isleta and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso are also part of the presidential delegation attending the two-day forum with the theme “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity.”

 “President Aquino hopes to further strengthen our exceptional partnership with Europe by reaffirming the significance of the long-standing economic and political ties between our country and the region,” Ochoa noted.

 Ochoa said the estimated expenses for President Aquino’s participation to the ASEM 9 covers the entire delegation’s chartered flight to Lao PDR, accommodation, transportation, food, and equipment and telecommunications requirements, among others.

 According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), President Aquino is expected to “exchange views with counterparts from the two regions on the Eurozone crisis, trade and investment facilitation, energy and food security, disaster management, counter-terrorism, migration and regional issues.”

 The Chief Executive will also highlight the government’s anti-corruption programs and accomplishments in good governance, as well as underline the importance of upholding the rights of migrant workers.

 According to official data from the foreign affairs department, there are more than 700,000 Filipinos living and working in Europe as of 2011.

 Europe is the Philippines’ third largest trade partner after North America and Asia, with trade pegged at $13 billion or about 12 percent of the country’s total trade to the world last year, the DFA said.

 During the same period, the DFA added, some P33.3 billion worth of investments came from the European Union, primarily from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. PND


President Aquino swears in Almendras as Secretary to the Cabinet, Petilla as new Energy Secretary
 
 President Benigno S. Aquino III swore in Sunday Jose Rene Almendras as the Secretary to the Cabinet and Jericho Petilla as the new Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE).

 The Chief Executive administered the oath of office of the two officials at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal II before he departed for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) that will be held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) from November 5 to 6

 Petilla is on his third and last term as Leyte Governor when President Aquino named him as Almendras' successor.

 The President said he has chosen Petilla because they have the same views and that his experience in the private sector would help him in running the energy department.

 The President earlier said that Petilla’s private sector experience will eliminate the possibility of regulatory capture adding that Petilla is a problem-solver as he noted the Leyte governor’s style of handling and running the provincial government of Leyte.

 Petilla, 49, acknowledged the sensitivity of the position since the present energy policies would affect the country’s energy situation several years from now.

 "The priority for me right now really is to get a grip of the entire situation of the power industry and that includes, of course, the power generators, the cooperatives and transmission lines that we have. Look at the 20-year (energy) plan that has been started already. It hasn’t been released yet but we have to look at it and see where we are going," Petilla said in an interview at the NAIA Terminal II.

 "Effectively, I start tomorrow but first things first. I am leaving an existing position so I had to turn over the province of Leyte to my Vice Governor who will sit as Governor of the province of Leyte. That’s the first order and then come back here and then start doing the briefing on the energy sector," Petilla said.

 Petilla said he decided to accept the post because he believes in the sincerity of the President to effect changes for the country.

 "Kung titingnan ninyo ang Presidente, very sincere. He really wants changes in the way we do things, and bring us back to where we were before. In other words, you know, improve the country; make us competitive. The least I can do is actually help the President; help the country and help all the people sacrificing here," he stressed.

 This is the first time President Aquino designated a secretary to the Cabinet, in the person of Almendras, since he assumed office in 2010.

 Almendras was the president of the Manila Water Company before he became Secretary of the Department of Energy on July, 2010. His experience in the private sector spans 29 years. Throughout his career, Almendras had assumed significant leadership roles in the top corporations within the country.

 "The Cabinet Secretary is not new po, ano. The Cabinet Secretary has been there for what? Since1987. So it's not a new position. It has always been there...," Almendras said in an interview at the NAIA Terminal II.

 "There is a need for coordination among the agencies. So secretaries like me before was so focused on just Energy. But there are initiatives that the President...na gusto niya, 'di ba? And, in that case, gusto niya somebody is the one following through. So there is also such a thing as a Cabinet assistant system. This was started during the time of President (Cory) Aquino," Almendras said.

 Almendras stressed that there will be no overlapping of functions.

 "It's a whole structure on how somebody below the secretary level is actually working together with the others to create a more dynamic process. So my position is not a line position. Mine is a staff position. Secretary to the Cabinet is a staff position so it doesn't conflict with any of the line positions," he explained. PND (js)


President Aquino cites Philippine Bowling Congress for efforts to develop world-class bowlers
 
 President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the initiatives of the Philippine Bowling Congress to develop the country's bowlers into world-class athletes.

 "Sports play an important role in promoting the values of discipline, camaraderie, and excellence. Thus, events like yours are truly welcome undertakings, as they hone the talents and fortitude of our countrymen according to world-class standards, and foster solidarity with their fellow athletes worldwide," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Philippine Bowling Congress on the occasion of the 41st Philippine International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships on Sunday.

 The Philippine Bowling Congress is the national governing body for bowling in the Philippines.

 "Be proud of your distinction as one of Asia’s longest running bowling tournaments, even as you secure your advantage of attracting the best competitors around the globe," the President said.

 President Aquino expressed hope that the event continues to serve as a venue that develops the country's promising young talents in this sport. He also called on all the players of the bowling tournament to continue working hard to attain victory not only locally but also in the international competition.

 "I wish you the best. May you work hard to take your turn in the world stage and attain victory. May you compete with honesty, integrity, and fairness, as you advance both yourselves and the sport which you love," he said. PND (js)


President Aquino leaves for Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting; Vows to push for rights of overseas Filipino workers
 
 President Benigno S. Aquino III on Sunday said his participation in the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic will give him the opportunity to vouch for the rights of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) currently affected by the ongoing Eurozone crisis.

 In a statement delivered prior to his departure, President Aquino underscored the importance of every member nation’s involvement in the forthcoming ASEM to discuss various political and economic issues that are currently challenging both Asia and Europe.

 He cited, in particular, the Greek government debt crisis as well as the impending change of leadership in the People’s Republic of China which may inevitably shake up the flow of the regional as well as the global economic market.

 “Sa mga panahong kapwa nakasadlak sa krisis at kawalang-katiyakan ang ilang bahagi ng Asya at Europa, mahalagang magkaharap ang mga pinuno mula sa dalawang rehiyon upang matalakay ang mga isyung pasan ng kanilang bansa. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit higit kailanman, kailangang magkapit-bisig, kilalanin ang mga problemang dapat tugunan, at maglatag ng solusyon ang mga bansang kasapi ng ASEM,” the President stressed.

 The President said it is expected that other nations will put the interest of their own people above anything else amid the economic crises, which can place our countrymen in a vulnerable situation, thus it is important for the government to be on guard.

 “Dapat lang na manindigan tayo para sa pangangalaga sa karapatang-pantao ng libu-libong OFWs sa Europa. Kapwa nakikinabang ang ating mga rehiyon sa sipag ng ating mga migrant workers, kaya naman sa halip na magtayo ng barikada, hudyat ito upang humubog ng mas matibay na ugnayan kung saan lahat tayo ay makikinabang,” he said.

 According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are more than 700,000 Filipinos living and working in Europe which is the third largest trading partner of the Philippines pegged at $13-billion or about 12 percent of the country’s total trade to the world last year.

 The 9th ASEM shall likewise provide Asian and European leaders opportunity to come up with ideas and suggestions en route to a peaceful and fair resolution regarding the West Philippine Sea.

 “Lahat nang ito’y nakatutok sa pagkamit ng nag-iisang adhikain --ang itimon ang Asya’t Europa tungo sa direksyon kung saan mananatili tayong umaarangkada’t nangunguna sa agos ng pandaigdigang ekonomiya,” President Aquino said.

 The President also mentioned that he will take advantage of the occasion to develop stronger ties with other nations as bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the European Union, Switzerland, Poland, Norway, and Italy have already been scheduled.

 “Mula sa mga paksang pampulitika, ekonomiya, tanggulan, at kapakanan ng ating OFW’s, makakaasa po kayo sa maigting na paglalatag natin ng solusyon upang mapatibay ang ugnayan at pagtutulungan natin sa mga nasabing bansa. Nananabik po ako, hindi lamang sa palitan ng ideya’t magaganap na talakayan, kundi lalo na sa mga kasunduang mahuhubog mula sa mga pagpupulong na ito,” he said.

 President Aquino’s visit to Laos won’t be complete without his usual interaction with the members of the Filipino community there which, according to Malaca├▒ang, is the first thing that he will do shortly after his arrival.

 “Bahagi po ng tungkulin natin ang ihatid sa kanila ang mabubuting balitang tinatamasa natin dito sa Pilipinas, at ipaalam sa kanilang nasa mabuting kamay ang kanilang pamilya. Kung mayroon man po silang mga saloobin at pangangailangan, pagkakataon din po ito upang sila’y pakinggan para naman agad natin itong matugunan,” the President said.

 At present, there are 550 Filipinos in Laos who are involved in various sectors including mining, education, engineering, agriculture, and other services.

 “Hindi po magbabago ang ating paninindigan: Nasaang lupalop man tayo ng mundo, ang mga Pilipino pa rin ang Boss ko. Kaya naman sa bawat biyahe, ibinabandila natin ang bagong liwanag ng pagkakataon at pag-asa na tinatamasa ng Pilipinas ngayon. Habang pinatitibay natin ang pundasyon ng ating relasyon sa ibang mga bansa, tinitiyak din natin ang mas matayog na bukas para sa mga susunod na salinlahi,” the President further noted.

 The President's attendance to the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting in Vientiane, which has for its theme “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity,” is his first since he assumed office in June 2010.

 He is accompanied by a 60-member official delegation led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, incoming Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, PCOO Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

 The President and his delegation left Manila about 20 minutes earlier than the 1:00 p.m. (Manila time) estimated time of departure Sunday via a chartered Philippine Airlines flight PR001 and are expected to arrive in Laos at 3:10 p.m. (Vientiane time). PND (hdc)


President Aquino arrives in Laos for 9th Asian-Europe Meeting
 
 VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (via PLDT/Smart) —President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here on Sunday to join Heads of State and Government from 32 countries attending the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM9) from November 5 to 6.

 The President arrived on board the Philippine Air Lines flight PR001 at the Wattay International Airport at around 2:45 p.m, 25 minutes earlier than his scheduled arrival of 3:10 p.m.

 He was accompanied by his official delegation that included Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, outgoing Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, NEDA Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr.

 The President was met by Philippine Officials led by Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Maria Lumen B. Isleta, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary and ASEM SOM Elizabeth Buensuceso, and Colonel Manny Gonzales, Defense and Armed Forces Attach├ę.

 Lao PDR officials who were also on hand to welcome the President were: Hiem Phommachanh, Minister of Post, Telecommunication and Communication; Malayvieng Sakonhninhom, Ambassador of Lao PDR to the Philippines; Anouphab Tounalom, Vice Mayor, Vientiane Capital City; and Sisavath Inphachanh, Director General, Consulate Department.

 Shortly after his arrival, President Aquino will immediately meet with the members of the Filipino community. He is also expected to exchange views with his counterparts from the two regions on the Eurozone crisis, trade and investment facilitation, energy and food security, disaster management, counter-terrorism, migration, and regional issues during the two-day Summit.

 The ASEM was created in 1996 through the initiative of Singapore and France. It is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation with the main objective of forging a comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. PND (rck)