Thursday, 24 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, January 24, 2013

President Aquino leaves for Davos, Switzerland for World Economic Forum
 President Benigno S. Aquino III left for Switzerland on board a chartered Philippine Air Lines flight Wednesday night to join world and international business leaders in the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) that is being held in Davos.

 The President, who was joined by a 63-member delegation led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, National Economic and Development Authority head Arsenio Balisacan, and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, boarded their flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 a little past 11 p.m.

 In his departure speech, the President said his attendance to the WEF will provide an opportunity to showcase before European and international business leaders the accomplishments of his administration in implementing widespread and meaningful reforms in governance.

 “Isang pagkakataon ito upang mailatag natin sa harap ng mga pinuno sa Europa at iba pang bansa ang malawakan at makabuluhang reporma na lumalaganap sa ating bayan,” the President said.

 “Bibigyang-mukha natin ang magagandang balitang nasasagap nila mula sa mga banyagang telebisyon at pahayagan, at ipapaliwanag kung paano natin napapa-arangkada ang ekonomiya bunsod ng tuwid na pamamahala,” he added.

 He said he would particularly highlight the gains achieved by the Philippine economy that was able to post a 7.1 percent growth rate during the third quarter of 2012, the second highest in the region, the strengthening of the peso, the lowering of interest rates, and the surging Philippine Stock Exchange index.

 He said that because of the improved conditions in the country, he would exhaust every moment to invite potential investors to put up their businesses in the Philippines and take advantage of the industry and brilliance of the Filipino.

 “Napapanahon nga po ang pagtungo natin sa Switzerland. Sa nararanasan pong paghina ng ekonomiya sa ilang bahagi ng Europa, sasamantalahin natin ang bawat sandali upang hikayatin silang mamuhunan sa Pilipinas, at tumaya sa angking sipag, husay at pagkamalikhain ng Pilipino. Gayundin, buong-sigasig nating ipapakilala ang ating bansa bilang napakaganda at kaaya-ayang lugar, na talaga namang babalik-balikan ng mga turista,” the President said.

 He added that his attendance to the WEF and the corresponding chances to meet with his counterparts from Europe and the world would allow them to further strengthen relations.

 “Dahil minsan lang magkasama-sama ang mga pinuno ng maraming bansa sa iisang lokasyon, hindi rin po natin mapapalampas ang pagkakataong patibayin ang ating ugnayan sa mga bansa sa Europa. Makikiisa tayo sa pagpanday ng mga solusyon sa ating mga suliranin, na may implikasyon sa hinaharap ng iba’t ibang rehiyon, nang hindi kinakailangang bumiyahe sa bawat isang bansa. Ipapakita natin---maaasahan tayong kabalikat sa anumang larangan, lalong-lalo na sa pagtataguyod ng pag-unlad na sumasaklaw sa kapakanan ng mas nakakarami sa halip na interes ng iilan lamang,” the President said. PND (rck)

President Aquino brings good news from home to Filipino workers in Switzerland
 PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino expressed excitement about the chance to meet overseas Filipino workers at the sidelines of his trip to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF).

 The President said in his departure speech before boarding a chartered Philippine Air Lines flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Wednesday night that not even the cold weather in this European country could hinder the warm reception his compatriots are expected to accord him when he meets them on Saturday.

 “Siyempre, hindi naman po tayo masyadong mangungulila sa Switzerland dahil makakasama rin natin ang ating mga kababayan sa Zurich,” the President said.

 “Tiyak pong hindi natin iindahin ang lamig ng panahon doon, dahil pihadong tatapatan ito ng mainit na pagtanggap ng ating mga kapwa Pilipino,” he added.

 He said he would take time to personally extend his and the heartfelt thanks of the country for their sacrifice which not only has helped their respective families here but the Philippine economy as well.

 “Ipapaabot natin sa kanila ang ating pasasalamat sa malaki nilang ambag sa pag-angat ng ekonomiya, hindi lamang ng Switzerland, kundi pati na rin dito sa ating bansa,” the President said.

 “Ang pasalubong natin para sa kanila: magagandang balita sa ating bayan, at ang ligtas at matiwasay na kalagayan ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” he added.

 There are an estimated 10,000 OFWs living and working in Switzerland. PND (rck)

Palace pays tribute to former President Corazon C. Aquino in commemoration of her 80th birth anniversary
 The Aquino government will publish a multimedia historical series on former President Corazon C. Aquino, the undying symbol of our nation’s freedom, in commemoration of her 80th birth anniversary on Friday (January 25), a Palace official said.

 "As a tribute to her unshakable determination to defend our hard-earned democracy, the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) will publish a multimedia historical series on President Corazon C. Aquino as commander-in-chief and defender of the Fifth Republic," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday.

 Lacierda invited the public to visit the Official Gazette website: to see the official Presidential Management Staff narrative entitled “The Aquino Management of the Presidency: In face of crisis” which forms part of the overall official history of the Aquino administration.

 The PCDSPO will make available online through the full report of the Davide Commission which was tasked to investigate the 1989 coup attempt.

 "This online observance seeks to perpetuate the greatness of the Filipino people personified by the widow, dressed in yellow, who defended and nurtured our democratic institutions that she and countless Filipinos restored and rebuilt," Lacierda said.

 "A generation after our newly restored democracy faced some of the most serious and bloodiest challenges to democracy and civilian supremacy, we pause in homage to the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in defense of constitutional government.

 Let us never forget those who died so that democracy may live," Lacierda stressed. PND (js)

President Aquino arrives in Davos, Switzerland
 ZURICH, Switzerland) Amidst a cool and chilly weather, President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived Thursday morning on board a chartered Philippine Airlines flight PR001 at the Zurich-Kloten International Airport here to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from January 23 to 27 in Davos, Switzerland.

 The President's visit to Switzerland is his first since he took office in June 2010.

 The President, who arrived here at 6:38 a.m. (Zurich time), was accompanied by a 63-member delegation led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo, and Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad and Secretary to the Cabinet of the President Jose Rene Almendras.

 He was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Leslie Baja; Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland Evan Garcia, and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland Esteban Cornejos.

 Following a simple arrival ceremony, the President and his delegation were immediately whisked to Davos, Switzerland, venue of this year's WEF annual meeting.

 After a brief respite, the President immediately buckled down to work by meeting with the top executive officers of Volkswagen, a German car manufacturer, in efforts to attract more business investments for the Philippines.

 Volkswagen expressed it's interest to reestablish it's operations in the Philippines.

 Volkswagen, which means "people's car," is a German automobile manufacturer based in Wolfburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the original and top-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, the biggest German automaker and the second biggest automaker in the world.

 Aside from his attendance at several WEF activities, the President will also meet separately with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

 He is also scheduled to be interviewed by John Defterios, editor, Cable News Network Emerging Markets and anchor of Global Exchange.

 Before he leaves for Manila, following his attendance at WEF's annual meeting, the President will personally touch base with the members of the Filipino community during a "meet and greet" at the Zurich Renaissance Hotel to oversee their condition in their adopted country.

 During his meeting with them, the President is expected to brief them on the positive developments of the country during the last two and a half years. PND (rda)

Palace confident of sustaining soaring tourist arrivals
 Malacanang said it is confident that the government could sustain the growing influx of tourists coming to the Philippines after posting four million arrivals for 2012

 The Philippines has surpassed the four million visitor arrival mark for 2012 posting a total of 4,272,811 foreign visitors last year. This figure is a 9.07 percent increase from a total of 3,917,454 visitors recorded in 2011.

 Among the government thrusts to sustain this momentum is to expand the country’s infrastructure particularly in the tourism sector, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda saeid in a press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday.

 Another plan is to remove the common carriers tax so that more tourists come in, he said, adding however that the move would also mean foregoing foreground revenue of about P1.1 billion.

 “We expect more tourists to come in and they will be spending more here in the Philippines. That’s why we have been making sure that we are prepared for the onslaught of tourists and that’s the promise of Secretary Mon Jimenez,” Lacierda said.

 “We are doing that. Secretary Jun Abaya is also making sure that infrastructure for tourism will be in place.”

 With regards to concerns on enough number of hotels and vehicles for the tourists, Lacierda acknowledged the problem noting the issues are already being addressed by concerned government agencies.

 “Insofar as the hotels are concerned, we have the Entertainment City—kasama na ‘yun. Ang sa transportation, that’s also being addressed; kasama rin doon ang traffic situation,” Lacierda explained.

 While the Philippines was able to breach the four million mark, it fell short of its 4.6-million tourist arrival target.

 The Department of Tourism (DOT) said this shortfall is due to economic and political uncertainties in the country’s traditional markets such as US, Europe and China.

 The DOT however expressed confidence that it is on track in achieving its goal of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016.

 South Korea remains the biggest market for the Philippines, according to the DOT. South Korea is the first country to contribute one million visitors in 2012, it said.

 The US ranked second with 625,626 visitors, followed by Japan with 412,474 visitors. PND (as)