Thursday, 13 March 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, February 27, 2014

President Aquino to inaugurate first Petron station in Malaysia

(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) President Benigno S. Aquino III will inaugurate Thursday the first newly built Petron station in Malaysia.

The new station is the first constructed by Petron Malaysia. Existing Petron stations here were the result of mergers and acquisitions.

Upon his arrival from Manila, President Aquino will proceed to the inauguration. Petron Malaysia chairman of the board Ramon Ang and country manager Jaime Lu will join the President during the event. The President will also inspect the site.

Petron Malaysia is part of Petron Corp. in the Philippines, an emerging and rapidly evolving Asian oil company.

Petron in Malaysia traces its heritage to 1893 when it was first established as Standard Vacuum Oil Company. Along the way, it has experienced significant changes which included mergers and acquisitions, shaping its corporate presence in the country.

In the Philippines, Petron Corp. is the largest oil refining and marketing company. Petron Corp. supplies nearly 40 percent of the country’s oil requirements. Its world-class products and quality services fuel the lives of millions of Filipinos.

Petron operates a refinery in Limay, Bataan, with a rated capacity of 180,000 barrels a day. It processes crude oil into a full range of petroleum products including LPG, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, industrial fuel oil, solvents, asphalts, and petrochemical. PND (as)

President’s visit to enhance Philippine-Malaysia trade, investment, says Ambassador

(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) President Benigno S. Aquino III’s two-day state visit here could prop up business and trade for both the Philippines and Malaysia, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya said in an interview Wednesday.

Malaya said they are excited about the President’s meeting with the Malaysian business community in a Business Opportunities forum on Friday, which will give him the opportunity and platform to engage the Malaysian businessmen

“Their (Malaysians) investment in the Philippines has been considerable. In fact, in 2011, Malaysian investments in the Philippines constituted 22 percent of foreign direct investments for that year,” Malaya said.

Among the Malaysian companies already operating in the Philippines include Shangri-La Hotel, the Resorts World, Air Asia, Burjaya, Maybank, and AlloyMTD.

Maybank is increasing its branches in the Philippines by 20 this year, he said. AlloyMTD on the other hand is the construction company that rehabilitated the South Luzon expressway two years ago. It has an interest in a Philippine company.

Genting Berhad, the parent company of Resorts World is increasing its Philippine holdings by 100 percent as it opens Resorts World complex in Manila Bay. This complex, called Resorts World Nation, is an addition to its existing property near the airport—the Resorts World Manila.

“So there has been significant business engagement between Malaysian businesses and Philippine businesses. This gives us excitement… the increasing number of Philippine companies operating here,” Malaya said.

Philippine companies which are active in Malaysia include Robina Corp., Motolite batteries, Pancake House, and Yellowcab, Malaya noted, adding President Aquino’s visit will surely enhance the prospects of Filipino-owned companies in Malaysia.

The President is also scheduled to inaugurate the first Petron station built in Malaysia. Petron Corp. has been operating in the country through its Malaysian affiliate Petron Malaysia. Currently, Petron has 557 gasoline stations here, according to Malaya.

Malaysian companies are noticing the Philippines because of its unprecedented economic growth taking place as well as its huge population, which could be a significant consumer market for them, Malaya said. The Philippines has the second biggest population in the ASEAN region.

“I think that they are looking forward to seeing the President, meeting the President, listening to what he would say, particularly also in the backdrop of this is the breakthrough in the peace process because imagine the opportunities that would be unlocked with peace in Bangsamoro, and all of these, of course, would further boost the continued growth of the Philippine economy,” Malaya added. PND (as)

Philippine embassy in Malaysia sends home thousands of Filipinos through voluntary repatriation

(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) Thousands of undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia had availed of a voluntary repatriation program and returned to the Philippines, according to the country’s ambassador here.

In an interview Wednesday, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya said more than 7,000 of the undocumented Filipinos have availed of the voluntary repatriation arrangement. There were around 8,000 to 10,000 Filipinos who worked or stayed in Malaysia illegally.

The embassy worked with Malaysian authorities in dealing with illegal Filipino immigrants and instead of them Filipinos being accosted, picked up, and transferred and held in immigration facilities, they would voluntary surrender and be repatriated, Malaya said.

“They come to us, we try to secure an exit permit for them, pay a much reduced fine; and after a few days, or at least a week or two, they will be able to return to the Philippines, and hopefully, without spending a day in jail,” Malaya said.

“So I think this is something very significant and our figure is that there must have been about 200 Filipinos... affected by the crackdown launched early this year,” he added.

The number of undocumented Filipinos is far smaller compared to other nationalities like Indonesians, who are around two million. He said dealing with 8,000 to 10,000 undocumented Filipinos is manageable.

Most of the 200 Filipinos who were rounded up and detained work in the retail sector and in agricultural plantations, the ambassador said.

Immigration authorities from peninsula Malaysia are different from those immigration authorities in Sabah as well as Sarawak, Malaya explained, noting there are also separate immigration rules in those territories.

But in Sabah in particular, he said the embassy regularly sends a consular team composed of around seven members to serve Filipinos there. They visit Sabah at least each month and stay for a week or two, he said.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, who is arriving here today for a two-day state visit, will meet the Filipino community in Kuala Lumpur. PND (as)

President Aquino to consolidate gains in Mindanao peace process during two-day Malaysia visit

(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) The major thrust of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s two-day state visit here is to consolidate peace and development in Mindanao with recent gains in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya said.

“I think the focus of the visit would be consolidating peace and supporting the development of Mindanao. Malaysia has been the facilitator of the Mindanao peace process since 2001. In our view, they invested in that process as we are in the Philippine government,” Malaya told reporters in an interview at the Philippine Embassy here on Wednesday.

“They stayed the course and what is important, now that there is a successful conclusion of the peace process, is to transform the support and the goodwill from facilitation of the peace process into concrete economic support measure, so that in the words of the Prime Minister—‘the former freedom fighters can be transformed into productive farmers,’” Malaya said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Najib Razak is also looking forward to exchanging views with the President on how Malaysia can help in the economic support infrastructure for the Bangsamoro region, he added.

Malaya said in a recent interview that after the signing of the last annex in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, 13 Malaysian companies visited Cotabato to look for possible investment opportunities in the Mindanao region.

These Malaysian companies were the first international business groups that have shown interest in putting up their businesses in Mindanao. Malaya said those companies are interested in investing in oil palm plantation, rubber manufacturing, halal foods, infrastructure development, light manufacturing and many others.

The Philippine government and the MILF signed last month the Annex on Normalization that will lead to the decommissioning of the MILF armed wing and private armies in the proposed Bangsamoro area.

The Annex on Normalization was the last of the four annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was signed by both sides on October 15, 2012. PND (as)

Gov’t sets aside P9-M for President Aquino’s first state visit to Malaysia

The government has allocated some P9 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first state visit to Malaysia from February 27 to March 1, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Thursday.

President Aquino left this morning for Kuala Lumpur via a chartered flight, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad, Mindanao Development Authority Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino, and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.

Funding for the state visit covers transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of the President and his 57-member official delegation during the trip.

President Aquino is visiting Kuala Lumpur on the invitation of Malaysia’s King or Supreme Head of State Tuanku Abdul Halim and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong or the King will host a state banquet for President Aquino on February 28.

“Our President is expected to tackle several issues of mutual or shared interest in political, economic, and defense cooperation with Malaysian leaders. I believe President Aquino will also witness the signing of a couple of agreements on cultural cooperation and education cooperation,” Ochoa said.

According to Ochoa, the Chief Executive is also scheduled to meet Malaysian businessmen and the Filipino community in Kuala Lumpur. PND

President Aquino leaves for two-day state visit to Malaysia

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday left for a two-day state visit to Malaysia where he expects to further strengthen ties between the Philippines and Malaysia.

In his departure statement, the President said he will relay the Philippines' thanks to Malaysia for helping victims of super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).

"Dalawang araw po ang itatagal natin sa Kuala Lumpur. Kumpiyansa po tayo, na ang sandaling pagbisitang ito ay manganganak ng mas matibay pang kakayahan upang ipagtanggol ang interes ng ating bansa; mas malalim pang ugnayan sa pagitan ng dalawang lahing pinagtagpi ang kasaysayan; at mas marami pang oportunidad para sa mamayang Pilipino (We will stay in Kuala Lumpur for two days. We are confident the visit will promote our interests and deepen our ties with our neighbor while offering more opportunities for Filipinos)," he said in the statement he delivered at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Joining the President in the visit are Cabinet Secretaries Albert del Rosario (Foreign Affairs), Cesar Purisima (Finance), Gregory Domingo (Trade), Teresita Deles (peace process adviser), Lualhati Antonino (Mindanao Development Authority), Julia Abad (Presidential Management Staff), Herminio Coloma Jr. (Presidential Communications Operations Office), and Jose Rene Almendras (Cabinet Secretary).

He said Malaysia had extended $1 million in aid as well as medical and humanitarian assistance teams, and provided relief goods for those affected.

Also, he cited Malaysia for its role in promoting peace in Muslim Mindanao by supporting the peace efforts between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

On the other hand, he said Malaysia has been a staunch ally of the Philippines in the region, supporting Manila's stand for a rules-based approach in resolving territorial disputes.

The President also said he will take part in the inauguration of the first Petron gas station in Kuala Lumpur - part of a venture involving $1.2 billion in investments.

"Pagkakataon rin po ang pagbisitang ito upang ipamalita sa mga negosyante ng Malaysia ang tinatamasang pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya. Makikipagpulong po tayo sa mga pinuno ng Maybank, AirAsia, at Genting upang mapag-usapan ang detalye ng kanilang pinaplano o isinasagawang proyekto at expansion sa Pilipinas (The visit will be an opportunity to tell traders in Malaysia of the progress in the Philippines. I will meet with officials of Maybank, AirAsia and Genting to discuss their plans to expand operations here)," he said.

Meanwhile, the President also said he will meet with the Filipino community in Malaysia.

"Sisiguruhin po natin na mahusay na natutugunan ang pangangailangan at napapangalagaan ang karapatan ng mga kababayan nating naroroon (We will make sure their needs are addressed and their rights are protected)," he said. PND (jl)