Monday, 2 June 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

President Aquino tells ASEAN business leaders: Your initiatives must benefit the people

Political and business leaders must draw inspiration from the people and always bear in mind their welfare over the long term, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

Leaders must realize that their success relies on the people and the communities they serve, the President told members of the ASEAN Business Club (ABC) during their courtesy call at the Palace.

"These are the very same truths that have ignited the resurgence of our country," he said.

He noted that whenever his administration is lauded for the progress the country has made, he is always quick to say that the transformation of the Philippines is “a collective achievement, built on the shoulders of a people prepared to undertake the difficult task of reform together."

He recounted that the country's transformation began in 2010, “when Filipinos took a stand against corruption and impunity, giving the present administration the mandate for change—a mandate aimed at eradicating corruption and fostering inclusive and equitable growth.”

The administration's thrust, he said, is massive investments in the people through skills training and education, health, and social services, as well as enhancing the state of national infrastructure.

The commitment to good governance has already borne fruit, as evidenced by the country's strong macroeconomic fundamentals and the recent credit-rating upgrades by all three major credit-rating agencies, placing the Philippines at investment grade or higher, he added.

"No longer are we the 'Sick Man of Asia.' We are now Asia’s bright spot—a viable destination for investments and tourists," President Aquino said, citing the IT-BPO sector, manufacturing, and a robust domestic demand as among the major drivers of the economy.

The President also told ASEAN businessmen that his government is fully committed to service a revitalized economy, and a people with renewed optimism and desire to take part in nation-building.

The Ayala Corp. is hosting nearly 50 delegates of the ASEAN Business Club in the Philippines, which coincides with the World Economic Forum on East Asia being held in the country.

The ASEAN Business Club is an association of the chief executives of ASEAN's biggest business enterprises that are committed to the advancement of the ASEAN agenda.

Apart from the courtesy call, the ABC members also met with the President’s economic team in a round-table discussion.

The regional business organization is a private sector-derived initiative of the ASEAN's leading businesses that brings leaders together to understand and help shape the growing connectivity among ASEAN economies.

The group organizes opportunities for the business and government sectors within the region to discuss effective measures in enhancing ASEAN integration. PND (as)

Vietnamese Prime Minister lays wreath at ASEAN Garden in Intramuros

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday paid his respects to Ho Chi Minh by laying a wreath at the Vietnamese leader’s monument at the ASEAN Garden in Intramuros, Manila.

Ho Chi Minh was a key figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He led the Viet Minh independence movement from 1941, defeated the French Union in 1945, and ruled Vietnam until 1965.

The Vietnamese Prime Minister was received by Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Jerril G. Santos, and Intramuros Administrator Atty. Marco Antonio Luisito V. Sardillo III.

Prime Minister Tan Dung arrived in Manila via a chartered Airbus A321 that landed in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City at about 12:05 p.m.

The Vietnamese Prime Minister is on a working visit to the Philippines. He is also slated to attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEFEA), which will commence on Thursday. PND (ag)

Indonesian President Yudhoyono arriving in Manila for two-day state visit

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will arrive in the Philippines on Thursday for a two-day state visit, the Palace said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Yudhoyono’s state visit on May 22 to 23 is at the invitation of President Benigno S. Aquino III in January 2012.

"President Yudhoyono will be attending Manila’s hosting of the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA) on May 22, where he will be conferred with the Global Statesmanship Award, and witness the official turnover to Indonesia of the hosting of the 24th WEF-EA in 2015," Lacierda said.

On May 23, President Yudhoyono will meet with President Aquino to discuss matters of mutual concern, including political, defense and border, maritime, economic, and socio-cultural cooperation, he said.

President Yudhoyono will also be conferred with the Order of Sikatuna with rank of Raja during the State Dinner to be hosted in his honor.

Indonesia was the 13th major trading partner of the Philippines in 2013, with a total trade of $3.512 billion. Nearly 10,000 Filipinos live and work in Indonesia.

This year also marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Indonesia, Lacierda said. PND (as)

PhilHealth committed to pay hospitals, says Palace

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is already working to speed up the release of payments to different hospitals, Malacanang said.

"May commitment na ang mga regional offices ng PhilHealth na bilisan ang payment. Ang normal processing time is 60 days, but I think there has been already a continuous discussion with the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP)," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing at the Palace on Wednesday.

It was reported that the PHAP has complained about the delays in PhilHealth reimbursements.

Lacierda attributed the reimbursement delays to PhilHealth’s new payment system.

PhilHealth has recently shifted to a new payment scheme--the case-based payment system, he said, adding that the slight delay in payments are "birth pains" and not due to mismanagement.

He further noted that not all hospitals are having delayed payments but that many other hospitals are receiving payments on time.

PhilHealth and PHAP continue to hold discussions to resolve the issue, he said.

The Palace official also reminded hospitals that their service is “imbued with public service” and they must serve the people well.

Lacierda made an assurance that the government is not reneging on its commitment to hospitals that are claiming payments from PhilHealth.

"The government will not renege on that obligation, that is why there has been a constant discussion with PHAP president, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, and with some of the hospitals concerned," he said. PND (as)

Philippines, Vietnam agree on enhanced defense, security cooperation

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung discussed defense and security cooperation during their meeting in Malacanang on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived in the Philippines for a working visit as well as to attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

In his message during the joint press statement at the Palace, President Aquino said they discussed how the Philippines and Vietnam can enhance confidence building, defense capabilities, and interoperability in addressing security challenges.

Cooperation between the two countries' navies has been robust, he said noting the recent staff-to-staff talks conducted in Manila in March 2014. Matters pertaining to exchanges in intelligence and naval technology, and others, were tackled, he said.

"I believe that continued cooperation with Vietnam, as well as with other members of ASEAN, in defense and security will only contribute to promoting regional stability," he said.

"It is not an overstatement when I say that I look forward to increased collaboration between our respective defense agencies."

The President said he looks forward for the two nations jointly determining the prerequisites in forging a roadmap towards a strategic partnership.

Aside from discussing defense and security, the two leaders also exchanged views on maritime cooperation.

Collaborative activities between the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) have increased over the years, and these include oil spill preparedness and response, mechanisms for search and rescue cooperation, as well as information exchange.

This information exchange includes the Hotline Communication Mechanisms between the PCG and the VCG, aimed at protecting the two countries' marine resources and suppressing illegal activities in the adjacent sea area.

President Aquino said he believes continued cooperation between the Philippines and Vietnam will enable them to better protect their maritime resources, as they pursue strategies for regional growth and progress.

The President also said he hopes the Philippines and Vietnam remain steadfast in their shared aspiration—that by working together they can build a more stable Southeast Asia. PND (as)

Philippines, Vietnam agree on enhancing two-way trade in two years

The Philippines and Vietnam agreed to enhance their trade cooperation in the coming years, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Wednesday.

In a joint press statement after holding a bilateral meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said they agreed to continue strengthening cooperation to achieve the target of $3 billion in two-way trade by 2016.

Also agreed were the facilitation of businesses for both sides and the exploration of business and investment opportunities, increase connectivity between the two economies, and ensure food security.

The Vietnamese leader said both countries wished to cooperate in finance banking and services, and at the same time, encourage cooperation in culture, education, healthcare, science and technology, and tourism.

The two countries also agreed to further advance and deepen relations, and elevate comprehensive growth, bilateral relations to a higher level.

Both countries agreed to establish a working commission headed by the two foreign ministries to establish a roadmap towards strategic partnership between Vietnam and the Philippines. This thrust is aimed at enhancing regional peace, stability, cooperation, and development, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said.

"The roadmap for bilateral strategic partnership will be submitted to the high-level leaders of the two countries for adoption," he said.

In addition to bilateral cooperation, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also said he discussed with President Aquino regional and international issues.

Both sides agreed to coordinate closely with each other, as well as with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, to successively build a united and strong ASEAN community by 2015, he said.

The two countries will also continue collaboration and mutual support on regional and international forums, he said. PND (as)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit reaffirms strong bonds between Phl and Vietnam

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday said the visit of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to the country reaffirms the strong bonds between the two nations as brothers in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

The Vietnamese Prime Minister is in Manila for a working visit, upon the invitation of President Aquino and in conjunction with his attendance in the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA) hosted by the Philippines on May 21 to 23.

This is the Prime Minister’s second visit to the Philippines, after his Official Visit on August 2007.

“Your presence today reaffirms the strong bonds between our nations as brothers in ASEAN—a relationship that finds root not only in our shared history as peoples of Southeast Asia, but also in our very commitment to adhere to the rule of law and to uphold mutual respect between the members of our community,” President Aquino said during the state dinner in honor of the visiting Vietnam leader.

The President said the courage and strength that Vietnam government has demonstrated in protecting the interest of its people “have only been a source of inspiration for the peoples of ASEAN, as we work towards building a more secure, more prosperous, more equitable Southeast Asia.”

In his toast, President Aquino also thanked Prime Minsiter Dung for the generosity and unwavering solidarity with the Filipino people in the wake of Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).

“Mr. Prime Minister, then as now, you have only expressed your sincere regard for the well-being of the many Filipinos who live productive, dignified lives in Vietnam,” the President said.

“This kindness and concern for the Filipino people was also seen in the assistance extended by the government and people of Vietnam to the thousands of my countrymen who were affected by Typhoon Haiyan,” he added.

Vietnam plays host to a 6,220-strong Filipino community and several Philippines companies, including Jollibee, San Miguel Brewery, Liwayway Industrial Food Corp., Ltd, and United Pharma, Inc. PND (co)

Vietnam, Philippines voice concern over West Philippine Sea developments

Vietnam and the Philippines expressed their concern over developments in the West Philippine Sea, Vietnam's leader said on Wednesday.

"The President and I shared the deep concerns over the current extremely dangerous situation cause by China’s many actions that violate the international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and seriously infringe on the waters across our countries," Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in a joint press statement with President Aquino in Malacanang on Wednesday.

The Vietnamese leader is in Manila for a working visit and attendance to the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

Prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung said China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in territory being claimed by Vietnam and the deployment of navy vessels to protect the rig seriously threatened peace, stability, and maritime security in the East Sea.

The two sides are determined to oppose said violations of China, he said and will continue to call on countries and the international community to strongly condemn China.

Vietnam wants China to immediately end its violations and strictly observe the international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, and the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and make efforts for the early achievement of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

Relations between China and Vietnam soured further in the past weeks with vessels from both sides having physical confrontations at sea.

Protests in Vietnam also reportedly turned violent forcing China to send ships to evacuate its nationals from that country for safety concerns. PND (as)

Vietnamese Prime Minister meets President Aquino in Malacanang

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived in the country Wednesday for a working visit as he is scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA) to be held in Manila from May 21 to 23.

Prime Minister Dung is back in the country for the second time upon the invitation of President Benigno Aquino III. The President welcomed the visiting leader in Malacanang.
Prime Minister Dung’s chartered aircraft Airbus A321 touched down at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City at 12:30 p.m.

He then went to Intramuros, Manila for a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Vietnamese political leader and then President Ho Chi Minh.

From Intramuros, Prime Minister Dung convoyed to Malacanang to pay a courtesy call on President Aquino.

Foyer honors was accorded Prime Minister Dung upon his arrival in Malacanang at 3:40 p.m. President Aquino ushered the visiting leader for the traditional signing of the guest book at the Palace’s reception hall.

The two leaders then proceeded to the Music Room for the courtesy call that lasted more than an hour. Present during the courtesy call were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Department of National Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Jerril Santos, and Asia and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary Minda Calaguian-Cruz.

On the side of Vietnam, Prime Minister Dung was accompanied by Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; To Lam, Deputy Minister of Public Security; Truong Trieu Duong, Vietnam Ambassador to the Philippines; Nguyen Van Nen, Minister Head of Government Office of Vietnam; and Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of Defense.

The courtesy call was followed by an expanded bilateral meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room attended by several Cabinet men and their Vietnamese counterparts.

Among the matters discussed were defense and maritime security, tourism, trade and investment, promoting bilateral cooperation and people-to-people exchange.

Both leaders issued a joint press statement where they condemned China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea and again called for strict observation of the international law and early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
President Aquino also hosted a dinner in honor of Prime Minister Dung at the President’s Hall.

President Aquino thanked Vietnam for assisting the country during the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last year. Prime Minister Dung, on the other hand, congratulated the Philippines for its robust economy and the recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. PND (jb)

Wider economic and tourism ties with Vietnam, discussed during bilateral meeting

President Benigno S. Aquino III and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung discussed during their bilateral meeting at Malacanang on Wednesday how to widen economic and tourism ties between the two countries.

President Aquino said the institution of transparency and adherence to sound macroeconomic fundamentals have contributed to the resurgence of the economy of both countries.

“We also discussed the prospects brought about by this resurgence—and how with it we can strengthen trade and investment activity between our two nations,” said the Philippine President.

In 2013, the total bilateral trade of the Philippines and Vietnam amounted to US$1.33 billion.

“Our objective now is to attain a two-way trade to the tune of US$ 3 billion by 2016,” President Aquino said.

President Aquino also said that they also discussed opportunities for tourism cooperation such as developing cruise tourism.

“I look forward to other innovative collaborations for tourism between our countries, since both our nations view this sector as an important driver for growth not only for our economies,” President Aquino said. PND (ag)