RP generates 6.2 billion US dollars from PGMA’s US visit

August 19, 2009 10:00 am 

MANILA, Aug. 19 — The Philippines generated at least 6.2 billion US dollars in investments, trade, and aid from the recent US visit of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The amount, according to Malacañang, is higher than the total benefits generated in her combined foreign trips for 2007 and 2008.

In 2007, the President’s foreign trips generated 873 million US dollars in investments, trade, and assistance, with the Middle East accounting for 579.8 million US dollars and the European Union with 185.4 million US dollars. Last year, foreign visits of President Arroyo generated 399.9 million US dollars, the bulk coming from the United Arab Emirates with 375.4 million US dollars.

Press Secretary Cerge M. Remonde cited the 1 billion US dollars invested by US-based Coca-Cola Co. to expand its Philippine operations. Of the total, 300 million US dollars has already entered the country.

Other benefits received by the Philippines from the recent US state visit are 136 million US dollars in security and development aid, a 350 million US dollars Millennium Challenge Corp. grant, 1.6 billion US dollars involving the Generalized System of Preferences, 198 million US dollars for the Filipino veterans’ equity fund, 1 billion US dollars in estimated garment exports, and 1.2 billion US dollars in estimated investments.

Since 1999, the Philippines has received 429 million US dollars in military assistance from the United States. From 2001 to 2008, the country also received 312 million US dollars from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for Mindanao.

“Evidently, any of these numbers are well in excess of the P2.5 billion or about 15 million US dollars that has been spent on both local and foreign travel by the President since 2001,” Remonde said.

He added that variants of actual versus budget numbers are not enough to conclude whether or not the Office of the President had overspent.

Remonde pointed out that as a working president, President Arroyo, continues her agenda to uplift the lives of the Filipinos.

He noted the Chief Executive has increased the conditional cash assistance to the poorest of the poor nationwide from P5.10 billion to P5.15 billion.

“This is an anti-hunger and pro-poor governance at work and not just symbolic or feel-good gestures,” he added.

Remonde pointed out the other recent accomplishments of the Arroyo government, including the disbursements of official development assistance (ODA) totalling 825 million US dollars for the first half of the year, nearly double the number during the same period last year.

“This is welcome news for our development projects as well as for our external balances position. It also signifies improvement in our capacity to deploy funds for social services and economic stimulus,” he said.

He cited the 8.5 billion US dollars remitted by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the first half of this year, an increase of nearly three percent from the same period last year.

Remonde said that according to Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, many companies are now starting to recall their workers laid off earlier.

“This recall of laid off workers is another sign of our economic resilience and recovery. Allow me to reiterate that this is the kind of progress in which our President’s empathy for our poorest countrymen should be measured,” he stressed. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/ssc

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