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Jul 13th
Home Columns Dissenting Opinion Supposed Lobbying Contract Puts President Arroyo and Ambassador Gaa on the Hot Spot
Supposed Lobbying Contract Puts President Arroyo and Ambassador Gaa on the Hot Spot PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Dissenting Opinion
Thursday, 20 December 2007 13:06

By Nonoy  Mendoza, Guest Columnist


$50-million for six months for US lobbyist? Once again, the Filipinos are being made a laughing stock by US lobbyists, thanks to GMA's bunch of blundering advisers


Dateline Washington, DC, Dec.  20 (PGON)

My friend, Ms.  Jennie L. Ilustre, reports in an article appearing in Manila's daily "Malaya," the national newspaper, with a stunning headline: "Gov't  hiring US lobbyist $50M contract for six months".

The reports continues: "The  Philippine Government is hiring Covington & Burling, LLP, a top US lobby group, to "promote the interests of the Republic of the Philippines with the US Congress and the US Government on a range of political, economic, and security issues and other tasks."  

An  independent  source said  the $50-million contract for  six  months , which can be renewed, is "already a done deal."

According to the report: "The contract  provides that  the term of   the  individual consultant  shall be, at  most,  six months, renewable at the option of  the appointing Head of the Procuring  Entity, referring to Philippine  Ambassador to the United  States Willy C. Gaa. The consultant  will work  closely  with  the  Embassy of  the Philippines in connection with the following tasks: 

• Promote the interests of the Philippines with the US Congress and the  US  government on a range of  political, and security  issues.

•  Support  efforts that can result  in increased  US  trade  opportunities  for  the Philippines.
• Support efforts that can result in increased  foreign  direct  investments from  US companies.

• Support efforts to develop new initiative or expand current programs that support the ability of the Philippine Armed  Forces to strengthen capabilities in the areas of security  and   antiterrorism.

• Work with Philippine government officials to promote increased levels of US Development Assistance to the Philippines.

• Ensure  the members of the US Congress and government officials are regularly  and accurately updated on developments in the Philippines to promote understanding of the importance and positive developments taking place in the country."

What  strikes me most  is  the nonchalant  reactions of the  Filipino-American news media (kuno). Nobody among my friends in the Filipino media  seems to  care . . . although, most of us,  consider ourselves PR  people (kuno) . . . including this columnist.

How  come  $50M?  At the current  rate of  exchange of  PhP42 to $1, that  comes up to  PhP 2,100,000,000.00. Yes, Two-Billion, One-Hundred -Million  Pesos!   That is a lot of money that the Philippine government can use  for  shelter, classrooms and creating livelihood for the poorest of the poor.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo  should rethink or disapprove "this"  move  fast .... undoubtedly  suggested  again  by  one of   Her  Excellency's  usual blunderers. Real fast. That is a lot of money for any PR jobs.   Maybe if  we are  an  Arab nation, an oil-money making nation, $50M is a drop in a bucket. But for a country, the Philippines, depending entirely on  the remittances of OFWs,  income  from  Overseas-Filipino Workers – Have  pity,  naman. #


Nonoy Mendoza


Washington, D. C.




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Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2007 13:13

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