Friday, 9 May 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, April 28, 2014

President Aquino to address labor leaders at conclusion of Pre-Labor Day Dialogue

President Benigno S. Aquino III this week will address labor leaders at the conclusion of the Pre-Labor Day Dialogue organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement issued on Monday.

“It is hoped that this discussion will foster greater cooperation among the various groups in order to better serve the Filipino workforce, the backbone of the country,” Lacierda said.

He also said that in celebration of Labor Day, the President will visit various manufacturing facilities at the end of the week.

“Upon the invitation of DOLE Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, he will attend a series of events in Laguna, where the revitalization of our manufacturing sector has been most evident in recent years,” he said.

The President will then visit Bohol province on May 2 to assess the province’s progress in terms of labor and employment after last year’s earthquake.

“These visits highlight the administration’s commitment to a strong economy and its capacity to generate jobs and livelihood as we pursue our agenda of inclusive growth,” Lacierda said. PND (rck)

President Aquino welcomes U.S. President Obama in MalacaƱang Palace

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday welcomed US President Barack Obama, who is in Manila on the last leg of his four-nation tour of Asia, in Malacanang Palace.

President Obama arrived on board Air Force One at 1:26 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City, where he was welcomed by several government officials led by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

From the airport, Obama boarded the helicopter, Marine One, and proceeded to Malacanang to attend the official welcome ceremony.

Joining President Aquino in greeting his American counterpart were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, among others.

After the ceremony, the President invited Obama to enter the Palace for the signing of the guest book at the Reception Hall. After the signing, the two leaders proceeded to the Music Room for the meet-and-greet before their expanded bilateral meeting.

Later in the evening, President Aquino will host a state dinner for the visiting US leader.

This is the first visit of President Obama in the Philippines. He also visited Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia. PND (co/ag)

Obama says Philippine-U.S. defense agreement beneficial to both countries

US President Barack Obama said the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and the Philippines will benefit the two countries, particularly on military readiness and response to calamities.

In a press conference with President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacanang on Monday, Obama said the goal of the new defense cooperation agreement is wide-ranging.

The US president said that both countries have maintained strong alliance for many decades and Monday’s signing is an update on that partnership.

The goal of the agreement is to build Philippine capacity in training and in coordination, he said, adding that the EDCA not only concentrates on maritime security, but also on enhancing the two countries’ capabilities in responding to natural disasters.

“If there are additional threats that may arise, we are able to work in a cooperative fashion,” he said.

The agreement is similar to the pact that the US signed with Australia, he noted.

“I think this is going to be a terrific opportunity for us to work with the Philippines to make sure that our navies, our air force are coordinated; to make sure that there is information-sharing; to allow us to respond to new threats and to work with other countries—ASEAN countries, Australia, Japan,” Obama said.

The US goal here is simply to make sure that everybody is operating in a peaceful and responsible fashion, he said.

When there is regional stability, countries focus on more important things like increasing prosperity and growth, as well as creating jobs, the US leader noted.

“Those are the things that we, as leaders, should be focused on, need to be focused on. And if we have security arrangements that avoid conflict and dispute, then we’re able to place our attention on where we should be focusing,” Obama said.

Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Monday morning signed the agreement that allows a bigger US military presence in the country.

The 10-year deal is only a framework agreement. Details on the duration and number of US troops staying in the country still have to be negotiated.

Obama arrived in the Philippines from Malaysia on Monday afternoon for a two-day visit. Manila is the final leg of his Asian trip that also took him to Japan and South Korea. PND (as)