President Aquino invites global business leaders to invest in the Philippines
DAVOS, Switzerland) President Benigno S. Aquino III invited European business leaders including other business executives from various parts of the world attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting here to explore potential areas of investments in the Philippines, as he cited some of the reforms initiated by the government to achieve inclusive growth.
President Aquino issued the invitation in his remarks before the roundtable with Global Business Executives at the sidelines of his participation to the WEF Annual Meeting here in Davos.
“These are truly exciting times for our country. We are realizing the long-untapped potential of our country, and we are here to invite you to join us, he said.
The President cited the three priority sectors for investing in the country, namely, tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure.
In the agriculture sector, the President said the Philippines is on its way to becoming an rice exporter.
“Since I came into office, our government has been working towards rice self-sufficiency by going back to the basics and helping our farmers through improved irrigation systems and a genuine certified seeds program,” the President said.
“Rice production has been increasing, and through these methods, we are on our way towards our next goal: becoming an exporter of rice,” he added.
On the country's revitalized coconut industry, President Aquino said that in 2011, the Philippines has exported more than 16.7 million liters of coco water, up from the 483,862 liters of coco water in 2009.
He noted that that the coco coir fiber, transformed into geotextile materials, has among others, been found effective in erosion control. He added that the DPWH is already using this technology in their projects.
On tourism, President Aquino mentioned the Department of Tourism’s “It‘s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan because Filipinos have always been "proud of the beauty of our country, and of the hospitality of our people,” he said.
“To show them off, and to attract even more tourists to our shores, our Department of Tourism has embarked on a campaign to show the world that “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” he added.
According to the President, publications like Conde Nast Traveller, the New York Times, and Travel + Leisure Magazine have cited the Philippines as a prime beach holiday destination.
He added that China's Oriental Morning Post named the Philippines as "Best Tourist Destination" in its annual World Travel-Special Trips awards. The Shanghai Morning Post also identified the Philippines as the "Most Romantic Destination" in the world.
In his remarks, President Aquino likewise tagged the infrastructure as a priority sector, of his administration saying that it is a key to further growth and development in tourism and agriculture, among other sectors.
He also cited the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report showing that the Philippines is lagging behind our ASEAN neighbors in terms of quality infrastructure.
“This presents an opportunity, because we are committed to closing this gap and increasing our competitiveness. Last year, disbursements for infrastructure reached an equivalent of 4.9 billion US dollars, and we have allotted 5.7 billion US dollars for this in 2013,” he said.
Part of the said allotment will go to the complete paving of the national road network by 2016, according to President Aquino. He said that since 2010, the DPWH has already completed 28 percent, or 2,006 kilometers, of the 7,256 kilometers of national arterial and secondary roads that needed paving.
The President further said that the Philippines is also improving connectivity all around the country through train systems in Metro Manila, the construction improvement of both domestic and international airports, and the exploration of a new nautical highway that could cut travel time between Luzon to Mindanao.
“We are exploring opportunities for the private sector to join us in these endeavors, and we hope that you will consider partnering with us in the future, towards our mutual benefit,” he said.
“All three sectors —agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure— represent areas that are already exhibiting rapid growth, among others that have shown resilience and strength over the past years,” he said.
In this connection, the President invited the businessmen here to meet with their counterparts in the Philippine business community to know what the investment opportunities are,n and learn from their experience of doing business under the Aquino administration.
“Those who have already bet on the Philippines have not been disappointed; they have seen the sincerity of our commitment to restoring integrity and leveling the playing field,” the President said. “This is a commitment we intend to keep with all who want to conduct honest, fair business in the Philippines.”
In closing, the President Aquino also cited the reforms that his administration has initiated to achieve inclusive growth, as well as the positive results it yielded.
Since 2010, the President said that the Philippine Stock Exchange Index has broken its own record high 70 times. The country has also been posting impressive economic growth, he said. PND (rda)
President Aquino announces holding of East Asia Summit for the World Economic Forum in 2014 in the Philippines
DAVOS, Switzerland) President Benigno S. Aquino III announced that he accepted the offer for the Philippines to host the East Asia Summit for the World Economic Forum in 2014.
The Chief Executive made the announcement during a Coffee Meeting with Media at the Europe Hotel here on Friday (Swiss time) following his successful attendance at this year's WEF Annual Meeting here.
"We agree to hosting the East Asia Summit for the WEF in 2014," the President said.
He noted that when the East Asia Summit for WEF is held in the Philippines next year, the participants would be experiencing a warmer weather compared to the freezing weather condition experienced by the participants attending this year's WEF annual meeting here.
According to the President, the holding of the 2014 East Asia Summit for WEF in the Philippines would certainly benefit the country and the Filipino people as a whole.
"It puts us at the center stage of the world map for that period, which is something like July or so. The details will have to be worked out, it was offered to us and I accepted to hosting the event," he said.
The President, who was visibly animated by his successful participation at the conclusion of the WEF Annual meeting that was participated in by global leaders, chief executive officers, top business financial executives and other stakeholders from Europe and other parts of the world said the best meeting he had attended was the luncheon meeting arranged by the Ayala Corporation.
"We were able to touch base with so many other leaders of various countries like the Dutch Prime Minister," the President said. PND (Rda)
Palace confirms killings of two Jemaah Islamiyah members in Mindanao
Malacanang confirmed on Saturday the killing of two terrorists who are members of Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
“We are confirming that Philippine authorities have successfully neutralized two foreign terrorists. Pareho silang miyembro umano ng Jemaah Islamiyah,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
In November last year, Philippine authorities tracked down Ibnu Gholib Al-Jitli or Ustadz Sanusi in Marawi City, an Indonesian who is suspected to be a senior member of JI.
Sanusi died in a firefight when security forces tried to arrest him, Valte said. During the investigation, the police recovered electronic devices and large amounts of currency from Sanusi.
Prior to Sanusi’s arrival in the Philippines in 2006, he was tagged as one of those involved in the 2005 beheading of three schoolgirls in Poso, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Valte said.
Also, Noor Fikrie Kahar was neutralized by Philippine security forces in December 14 last year, the Palace official said. Valte said Kahar is a suspected Malaysian member of the JI.
Kahar attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device in a hotel in Davao City and was killed by the police in an encounter. His Filipino wife, Anabelle Nieva Lee, remains under police custody and is currently undergoing judicial process, she said.
“Maipapakita natin na seryoso talaga ang pamahalaan sa ating pakikipaglaban sa mga ganitong klaseng terorista at umaasa tayong ang dalawang event na ito ay makakapagpadala ng malakas na mensahe sa mga indibidwal na tulad nila na ang Pilipinas ay hindi puwedeng gawing safe haven ng mga terrorista,” Valte said. (as)
Palace to investigate alleged continuing release of MWSS bonuses and allowances
The Palace said it would look into reports saying the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) continue to release excessive bonuses despite the non-approval of the budget department.
“We’ll have to verify that report kasi ang alam ko dapat sa mga GOCCs, ang merong authority over them ay ang GCG (Governance Commission for GOCCs),” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
“That will be looked into. After it is verified, that will be looked into,” Valte said when asked if the Palace will push for an inquiry on the matter.
In a report by the Commission on Audit (COA), it said excessive bonuses were still rampant at the MWSS in 2011.
In its report for 2011, COA said the MWSS still gave allowances, bonuses and incentives to its executives and staff despite the non-approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
COA said the MWSS continued to release various allowances, bonuses and benefits even without DBM’s nod.
COA also questioned the release of hazard pays to personnel who were not supposed to receive it. MWSS also entered into a medical coverage with private firm Medicard Philippines Inc. although medical coverage can be provided by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth. PND (as)
President Aquino says holding of 2014 East Asia Summit for the World Economic Forum in the Philippines to put country in the world map
DAVOS, Switzerland) President Benigno S. Aquino said the holding of the 2014 East Asia Summit for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Philippines will put the country in the "center stage of the world map."
The President echoed this statement as he announced that he has accepted the offer for the Philippines to host the WEF East Asia Summit next year.
President Aquino arrived in Davos, Switzerland last Thursday to attend this year's WEF Annual Meeting from January 23 to 27. His attendance to the annual meeting provided him the opportunity to highlight the Philippines as an investment haven and tourist destination for the benefit of the country and the Filipino people as a whole.
"We agree to host the East Asia Summit for the WEF in 2014," the President said following his successful attendance at the conclusion of the WEF annual meeting.
He noted that when the East Asia Summit for WEF is held in the Philippines next year, the participants would be experiencing a warmer weather compared to the freezing weather condition experienced by the participants attending this year's WEF annual meeting.
The President pointed out that the holding of the 2014 East Adia Mummit for WEF in the Philippines would certainly benefit the country and the Filipino people as a whole.
"It puts us at the center stage of the world map for that period, which is something like July or so. The details will have to be worked out, it was offered to us and I accepted hosting the event," he stressed.
The President, who was visibly animated by his successful participation at the WEF Annual meeting which was participated in by global leaders, chief executive officers, top business financial executives and other stakeholders from Europe and other parts of the world said the best meeting he had attended was the roundtable luncheon meeting arranged by the Ayala Corporation.
The roundtable meeting was attended by chief executive officers and top businessmen not only from Europe but also from other parts of the globe representing a wide array of businesses.
"We were able to touch base with so many other leaders of various countries like the Dutch Prime Minister," the President said.
He said that one of the entities who was in the roundtable meeting is sending a team to the Philippines anytime this year to look and explore areas that they would be interested in. PND (rda)