PGMA arrives home tomorrow with fresh hopes, opportunities for Filipinos – Palace

August 4, 2009 9:27 am 

MANILA, Aug. 4 – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrives tomorrow, Aug. 5 at past 2:30 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal II via Philippine Airlines (PAL) from the United States, bringing with her fresh hopes and opportunities for millions of Filipinos.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the agreements, pledges and business meetings, which President Arroyo cornered in Washington, DC, and New York were for the greater good of the Philippine economy which would benefit millions of Filipinos.

Highlight of the US visit was her historic meeting with US President Barack Obama. President Arroyo was the first Asian leader to meet him at the White House.

Bello said peace efforts to revive the peace talks in Mindanao, were among the topics discussed during the meeting of President Arroyo and United States President Barrack Obama at the White House last July 30.

US President Barack Obama was very pleased that President Arroyo made good progress in dealing with counter-terrorism issues as she initiated a peace process in Mindanao.

President Arroyo, in a press conference at the White House, thanked the United States for being such a good ally, particularly in helping on the soft power projects of the government in the form of building schools, roads and bridges in Mindanao.

"The assistance of the U.S. has gone a long way in helping us achieve what we have been able to achieve in the peace process in Mindanao." President Arroyo said.

She also shared the news to the United States President that Moslem secessionists' rebels and the government panel had agreed to work towards the resumption of peace talks.

The President also met with executives of the Coca-Cola Company who had just brought back their plant in the Philippines with a US$ 100 million dollar investment.

President Arroyo said Coca-Cola told her about their expansion plan that will total to US$ 1 billion.

Coca-Cola Philippines has partnered with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in addressing iron-anemia deficiency in the Philippines by providing malnourished schoolchildren since 2005 with NutriJuice, which is fortified with iron, zinc, lysine and vitamins A and C.

For 2009-2010, Coca-Cola Philippines will distribute NutriJuice to some 30,000 schoolchildren for 120 feeding days in the provinces of Quirino, Zambales, Palawan, Davao, Bukidnon and the cities of Tacloban, Marikina, Taguig and Pasig.

President Arroyo also said her administration was working on gaining a wider access for Philippine bananas into the US market after US agriculture authorities pledged to speed up processing of the pest risk analysis for the high-value commodity for imports.

“We are working for better market access for our bananas,” President Arroyo said in a statement.

The President said the government was working on specific market access for specific products, such as bananas, textiles, among others, to spur trade with other countries while raising the income of farmers and local manufacturers.

She also said the government was supporting a bill at the US Congress that could pave the way for larger market access for Philippine garments.

The bill, known as the Save Our Industries Act of 2009 (SAVE Act), seeks to provide duty-free treatment for the Philippine apparel exports to the US and resuscitate the ailing US textiles.

President Arroyo met members and officers of the newly-organized Filipino International USA (FILUSA) after her successful meeting with US President Barack Obama.

“One of the growth drivers in Asia is our ingenuity and the ability to identify new opportunities and to play niche roles in the global economy," said President Arroyo during her meeting with FILUSA at the Garden State Ballroom, Newark Sheraton Hotel Newark, New Jersey last Aug. 1.

President Arroyo served as guest of honor at the launching of FILUSA, a grassroots movement designed to empower the Filipino Community in the United States by serving as its voice on various issues that affect them.

According to Secretary Edgardo Pamintuan, Presidential Adviser on External Affairs, FILUSA aims to instill pride among Filipinos by promoting a positive image of the Philippines and the Filipino people.

Over two million Filipinos alone work and reside in the US.

On the environmental issues, President Arroyo called on the stakeholders attending the Forum on the Coral Triangle (with the National Geographic) to be more vigilant in advancing efforts to conserve the six million square kilometers that form the resource-rich Coral Triangle.

“The Coral Triangle is potentially the world’s most important refuge for marine life, But only if we all do our part to protect it from further environmental degradation,” the Chief Executive said in his speech at the forum at the Grosvenor Auditorium of the National Geographic here.

The President said it is time to rebalance approach as “we work to develop strong economies, provide employment, and maintain the sacred relationship between human beings and Mother Earth.

She said that with the political will of the governments of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste, the Coral Triangle 5 countries, protection of the Triangle would be high. (PNA) RMA/JCA

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