Wednesday, 24 September 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, September 21, 2014

President Aquino secures $2.3-B in investments from Europe trip

(BERLIN, Germany) President Benigno Aquino III has secured some $2.3 billion worth of investments following his meetings with top business leaders here in Europe.

During coffee with the Philippine media Friday at Maritim Hotel Berlin here, the President said at least 19 companies from Spain, Belgium, France and Germany committed to invest in the Philippines.

“From our engagements in Europe alone, we are expecting around $2.3 billion in investments in the sectors of manufacturing, energy, the IT-BPM sector, infrastructure and transport,” he said. "Of the $2.38 billion, some $900 million have already been committed, while $1.47 billion are prospective."

These investments, the Chief Executive said, are expected to generate 55,500 jobs.

While in Berlin, President Aquino said they were trying to woo a major corporation to set up a manufacturing company in the Philippines.

During his four-nation visit of Europe, a President Aquino met with CEOs of major companies and witnessed the signing of investment deals and agreements under the Public-Private Partnership program of the administration. PND (jb)

Philippines hopes China changes position on West Philippine Sea arbitration case

(BOSTON, Massachusetts) The Philippines still hopes China will change its mind and participate in the arbitration case filed at the international arbitral tribunal, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia said.

The Philippines has submitted its memorial to the tribunal this year, and according to Cuisia, the deadline for China's submission for a similar memorial will be on December 15 this year.

China however continues to refuse joining the arbitration case.

According to Cuisia, many people say that if China has strong grounds for its own claim, it must participate in the case filed by the Philippines.

"So we’re still hopeful that the Chinese authorities will change their mind. Because then it gives us an opportunity to have a very good, well, I guess presentation to the Tribunal of our own position and they will also present their position," he said.

President Aquino, who is arriving here in Boston today, is also expected to talk about the West Philippine Sea issue when he delivers messages at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and at Columbia University in New York, Cuisia said.

"The reason the President is very confident to speak about it, not only because he knows the issue very well, but we have very strong grounds for advancing our position," he noted.

The Philippines adheres to the rule of law and it followed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the basis of its claim.

European countries visited by the President recently expressed support for the peaceful resolution of the dispute.

Countries like the US, Japan, Australia and also the European Union have said that the issue should be settled peacefully, and the Philippines also agreed to this position, Cuisia said noting that the international law must be used as the basis for settling the dispute. PND (as)

President Aquino to promote Philippine manufacturing sector in the US

(BOSTON, Massachusetts) President Benigno S. Aquino III will promote the country's manufacturing sector when he delivers messages at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University here in Massachusetts and at Columbia University in New York, Ambassador Jose Cuisia said.

"As you know, we’re trying to promote the manufacturing sector," Ambassador Cuisia said in an interview here on Saturday (Boston time).

"We’ve seen very good increases in terms of the manufacturing sector, the growth of the manufacturing sector in 2014."

These developments in the Philippine economy is very timely for US firms wanting to put their investments elsewhere, according to Cuisia.

This invitation is not just for American firms but also to businesses coming from other countries, he added. Because when he visited Europe, Cuisia said that the President has been talking to different business leaders in Europe to look at the Philippines as an investment destination.

The President is also expected to talk about the consistent growth in the Philippine economy as well as the reforms that have been undertaken under his administration, Cuisia added.

"And one that he can be very proud of is the good governance mantra that he has been advocating from the start of his administration because that has really engendered tremendous optimism and confidence among international investors," he noted.

While there are good news, President Aquino could also discuss the continuing challenges that the Philippines has to face.

Among these challenges is the rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda noting that there's a lot of efforts to be done and also the need for tremendous resources.

"I’m sure he will also talk about that because we hope to be able to attract more support from the international community," Cuisia said.

"And, of course, the US is a major leader in the international community so that will be part of his message."

The President will also be talking about the Bangsamoro peace agreement especially after the Palace forwarded the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress. PND (as)

President Aquino arrives in Boston for five-day US trip

(BOSTON, Massachusetts) President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here, Saturday evening for a five-day working visit to the United States.

The President arrived at the Boston Logan International Airport at 8:33 p.m. (Boston time) from Berlin, Germany.

Among the members of the reception party include Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Libran Cabactulan.

Accompanying the President were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, NEDA Dir. Gen. Arnesio Balisacan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and Presidential Management Staff Secretary Julia Abad.

President Aquino, whose family lived in Boston for several years, will speak at the Boston College on Sunday as well as meet the Filipino-American community here in Boston.

On Monday, the President will be giving a policy speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

According to Ambassador Cuisia, the JFK forum is a very prestigious event joined by heads of state, heads of government, foreign ministers, and many others.

Originally, the President was scheduled to go to New York Monday morning, but Cuisia said they were able to convince the President that it would be worthwhile for him to speak at the forum and he agreed.

On September 23, the President will be speaking at the UN Global Summit on Climate Change in New York and will also have a roundtable with business leaders from the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-ASEAN Business Council and US-Philippine Society.

The chief executive will also have major interviews with the New York Times, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Foreign Affairs magazine, and BBC, Cuisia said.

After his events in New York, the President will proceed to San Francisco to meet several business leaders before returning to Manila. PND (as)

Secretary Del Rosario to discuss migrant issues with Filipino-American leaders

(BOSTON, Massachusetts) Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario will meet Filipino-American leaders here in the US to discuss the temporary protective status (TPS) to know if undocumented Filipinos would qualify for the status under the new US law.

Del Rosario arrived here on Saturday evening together with President Aquino who will be visiting the US in the next few days.

In an interview with the media, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr said they met with the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with a number of Filipino leaders in Washington, D.C. to coordinate the DHS study.

"But DHS also was very appreciative of hearing the views of the Filipino-American leaders who joined us in Washington, D.C." Cuisia said.

"They were assured by Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin that they would take into consideration all the comments made by the Filipino-American leaders," he added.

But the DHS has to look at it on the basis of the law that was passed by the US legislature creating or providing for the TPS or temporary protective status for Filipino illegals, Cuisia said.

The US government has to look at the conditions very carefully to consider whether the Philippines qualifies or not, he added.

If the DHS gave the TPS to the illegals, they would be able to get jobs, at least for a particular period, according to Cuisia.

TPS is normally being given for 18 months, and after that, the undocumented migrants go back to their previous status.

"But see, during the 18 months, they can get jobs. They can get… They may even be able to get a driver’s license—limited—so there are benefits that go with it," he said.

Cuisia clarified however that applying for TPS would not legalize their status.

But the Filipino-American leaders say the TPS still helps because some other countries have been able to get extensions beyond 18 months, Cuisia noted. PND (as)

U. N. recognizes Filipino troops' contribution in keeping peace in the Golan Heights

(BERLIN, Germany) The United Nations acknowledged the contribution of the Filipino soldiers who were part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights.

Reading the letter sent by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet, President Benigno S. Aquino III said the United Nations expressed its gratitude to the Philippine government for its contribution to UNDOF.

“The Secretariat of the United Nations presents its compliments to the permanent mission of the Republic of the Philippines in the United Nations and has the honor to refer to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF),” Mulet said.

“The Secretariat wishes to express its gratitude to the government of the Republic of the Philippines for its contribution to UNDOF. The government of the Philippines is aware that the security and operations of situation in the area of separation has necessitated the relocation of a number of mission personnel to the Alpha side,” the UN official added.

Moreover, Mulet said that the United Nations would arrange repatriation for the peacekeepers.

“There is no expectation that UNDOF will be able to deploy back to the Bravo side in the short or midterm. This has rendered 245 or so personnel of the Philippines’ contingent non-operational,” the UN official said.

Last month, Filipino soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers figured out in a standoff with Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights.

Just this Friday, the first batch of 244 Filipino peacekeepers arrived in Manila ahead of schedule due to the worsening security situation in the border region.

President Aquino, on the other hand, said the Philippine government remains committed to the UN peacekeeping mission. PND (co)

President Aquino vows to continue fight vs. corruption, poverty

(BERLIN, Germany) President Benigno S. Aquino III asked the Filipinos here in Berlin to continue to support his administration’s reform agenda in combatting corruption and poverty, saying these initiatives have made a huge impact in the country's economic development.

“Ito na lang po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo: Patuloy sana ninyo akong samahan sa pagtahak sa tuwid na daan,” President Aquino said during his speech before members of the Filipino community here in Berlin on Friday. "Patunayan natin sa kanilang mga nais tayong ibalik sa dating kalakaran: Mas marami tayo, mas malakas tayo, mas buo ang loob at puso nating isulong ang positibong transpormasyon ng Pilipinas."

In his speech, President Aquino told the Filipino community here that a lot has changed since he assumed the presidency in 2010, noting how reforms initiated by his administration have transformed the Philippines. "Ngayon, may gobyerno nang kakampi ng taumbayan. Nilalabanan natin ang korupsyon sa lahat ng antas ng pamahalaan upang mas mapalawak ang naihahatid nating benepisyo,” he said.

“Ngayong kaharap ko po kayo, sinasabi ko sa inyo: Boss, sasagarin ko ang bawat sandali at panahon para ipaglaban ang Pilipino. Tuloy ang ating laban kontra-katiwalian at kahirapan; tuloy ang ating laban para iangat ang Pilipino, at isulong ang kaunlaran ng bayan,” he said.

“Tuloy ang pagpapatunay natin sa ating sarili, sa ating kapwa, at sa buong mundo: Tunay nga po, the Filipino is worth fighting for,” the President said.

Also, during his meet and greet with the members of the Filipino community in Berlin, President Aquino conferred the Sikatuna Award to Honorary Consul General a.h. Dr. Gerhard Zeidler. PND (co)