PGMA global engagements enhance RP’s security and economic stability, says Remonde

June 26, 2009 8:05 am 

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, -– President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s global engagements have provided economic links that help shelter the Philippines from the full brunt of the present global economic meltdown.

Press Secretary Cerge M. Remonde stressed this today, saying the President’s most recent working visit to Japan and state visit to Brazil, have yielded many benefits for the Filipino people.

“One key to keeping our economy strong has been a strong engagement with other countries,” the Press Secretary said.

“We live in a very complex and interconnected world. It is critical that the leader of any nation ensures that their economy and their people are fully integrated into the opportunities and benefits that come from being an active part of the global economy and that their political, cultural and security interests are understood and protected,” he added.

Remonde pointed out that the President does not take vacations when she travels abroad but works tirelessly “to ensure the stability of our Philippine economy and that our allies and security partners understand our positions and interests.”

The President’s trips abroad, Remonde added, have yielded more jobs for Filipinos, increased trade and investment, increased tourist arrivals and higher volumes and levels of development assistance.

“The visits are international, but the beneficiaries are always the people of the Philippines,” Remonde stressed.

Remonde summarized the gains made from the visit to Japan and Brazil, as follows:

In Japan –

— National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Ralph Recto and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Dr. Sadako Ogata signed the Y1,013,000,000.00-Grant Agreement between the Philippine Government and JICA for the Flood Disaster Mitigation Project in Camiguin Island.

— A Memorandum of Understanding was inked by Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) President Hiroshi Watanabe for JBIC to guarantee up to 1 billion US dollars yen-dominated foreign (Samurai) bonds with the Department of Finance is going to float in the Japanese capital market in the next two years.

— Japanese companies also made firm commitments to invest and/or increase their investments in the Philippines. They included Toshiba, Marubeni and Tokyo Electric, Toyota, Sumitomo, and Mitsubishi UFJ.

— Marubeni Corporation, one of Japan’s largest trading companies, has committed 500 million dollars for the expansion of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2; and 100 million dollars for the Air Traffic Control Project Package 1 that will provide new communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management systems to Philippine airports.

— MRT 7, a private sector project of Universal LRT Corporation (ULC) was awarded the build-operate-transfer (BOT) right by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). The project cost is estimated to be 1.5 billion dollars, and is proposed to be funded by JBIC buyer’s credit.

— Other commitments secured include the supply of high performance construction and machinery for large-scale infrastructure development and mining operations; supply of agricultural machinery for increased agricultural productivity and improvement of food self-sufficiency.

— Toyota Tsusho Corporation has committed to develop five jatropha plantations of 20,000 hectares each to produce 300,000 tons of biodiesel fuel every year and generate some 12,000 new jobs and estimated annual sales of about 200 million dollars.

— The corporation also committed 40 windmill units for Burgos, Ilocos Sur.

— Aruze Corporation, the world leader in the manufacturing of gaming machines, has committed 4 billion dollars to 6 billion dollars for the construction of a hotel resort and convention complex in the Philippines

— Japan’s Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai, in a meeting with President Arroyo, sought RP cooperation in the implementation of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) projects to have the Comprehensive Asian Development Plan as part of the stimulus plan of Japan for Asia. The plan includes infrastructure and industrial development.

For her part, the President reiterated the need to close the development gap in BIMP-EAGA and emphasized on logistics development particularly the proposal for a roll-on/roll-off transport system between southern Mindanao and North Sulawesi. She also expressed her appreciation for Japan’s donation of computers for Philippine public schools.

Minister Nikai expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and said he is optimistic about its smooth implementation. He also said Japan will support the promotion of tourism exchange between Filipino and Japanese youths.

Nikai said study grants to Japan, to be sourced from ODA funds, will be provided for four-year courses, the graduates of which will be allowed to work in Japanese companies thereafter.

President Arroyo’s visit to Brazil, the first by a Philippine President, has provided an impetus for enhanced RP-Brazil relations.

In Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city, she met with her Brazilian counterpart, President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and discussed ways and means to enhance bilateral cooperation and people-to-people linkages.

The four-day, three-city trip to Brazil, netted five signed agreements and a joint statement between the Department of Agriculture and the Brazilian Association of Girlondo Breeders.

Two of the accords focus on agricultural and commercial cooperation. The others are on Bioenergy Cooperation between the Department of Energy and the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil; employment remuneration for dependents of diplomatic administrative and technical personnel; and biofuel development between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry.

The President ended her nine-day trip to Japan and Brazil June 25 (Brazil time) after meeting with the officials of the Compania Vale da Rio Dose, a Brazilian mining firm that committed some P600 million for the exploration of gold and other mineral deposits in Masbate. (PNA) LAP/OPS/ssc

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