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Home Community RP Government Updates PGMA Breaks Bread with Presidents Bush and Hu and Other World Leaders at Beijing Olympiad
PGMA Breaks Bread with Presidents Bush and Hu and Other World Leaders at Beijing Olympiad PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Saturday, 09 August 2008 23:17

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shared center stage with US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao in a lavish luncheon tendered by the latter in honor of world leaders who flew into this capital city to grace the opening of the Beijing Olympiad.

 

President Arroyo and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo shared the "peony table" with the luncheon host himself  and Madam Liu Xonqing.

Also in the same table for 26 world leaders were President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo, and Malaysian King Tuanku Mizai Zainal Abidin.

The others in the elite group were Count Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and Marques Juan Antonio de Samaranch, IOC honorary president.

The worldwide web describes the "presidential table" of peonies as "having compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large and often fragrant flowers ranging from white to red to yellow, in late spring and early summer."

The luncheon arrangement at the ground floor of the Great Hall of the People here featured nine gigantic tables named after China's flowers – with the peony table positioned directly in front of the stage.

In the same row with the peony table below the stage were the Jasmine and Orchid tables; followed by the Azalea, Chinese Rose and Lotus tables on the second row; and the Sweet Osmanthus, Camellia and Hibiscus tables on the third row.

Brunei's King Bolkiah occupied the Jasmine table together with Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and Timor Leste President Jose Ramos Horta, among others.

The sumptuous luncheon was preceded by the ceremonial hand-shake by President Hu Jintao with every visitor as the latter entered the banquet hall to the accompaniment of chamber music played by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Orchestra.

Hu Jintao later offer a toast to the luncheon guests, numbering some 230 "to the strong growth of the Olympic Movement, to the greater solidarity and friendship among people from all over the world, and to the health of all the distinguished guests and your families."

The brightly-lit banquet hall featured a stage whose backdrop had the Beijing Olympic logo emblazoned amidst a huge Chinese floral pattern in red and gold.

The huge tables each had a floral centerpiece, with flowers arranged to look like two peacocks – one in white and the other in blue.

The banquet, which started at 12:46 p.m., ended minutes before 2 p.m.

* * * * *


Chinese businessmen to invest $6 billion in Philippine venturesBEIJING, China (via PLDT) – Chinese businessmen informed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today that they're investing up to $6 billion in cement production, real estate, call centers and other ventures in Philippines.

 

The President received the investment commitments from the Chinese business leaders who called on her separately this morning at the Asia Hotel, her official residence while on a three-day working visit in
the Chinese capital.


Wearing a smart light blue dresscoat on this Olympics-opening day, the President held separate meetings with the Chinese businessmen at a conference room of the Asia Hotel here.


Three of the investors alone are to invest a total of $5.375 billion in the Philippines.


The President's first callers were the officials of the cement manufacturing giant Fujian Longlin Group Co. Ltd., which operates 100 cement plants all over China.


The Fujian group, which will be investing $275 million in a cement plant in the Philippines, was led by Mr. Yujian Xu, chief executive officer (CEO).

 

Later, the President received officials of the real estate company Sunshine 100 International, who informed her that they planned to invest in low-cost housing projects, as well as condominium units.


Led by Mr. Lucio Tai Yen, the group was accompanied by Sunshine's Philippine partner, Alfonso Sy of Sunshine 100 Pioneer.

Philippine Sunshine has already started the construction of eight condominium towers in a 1.25-hectare area at the Mall of Asia area in Manila.


Sy said the group is also putting up a small mall and three towers for call centers along Pioneer St. in Mandaluyong. Also in the pipeline are a low-cost housing project in Valenzuela and one in Montalban.


Sunshine's China-based partner, one of the biggest housing developers in the mainland, will infuse an additional $5 billion to its Philippine investments.


Officials of the Wei-Wei Group, who also called on the President, said they plan to put up a $100-million nickel processing plant in Zambales.

 

After attending the luncheon reception hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao for world leaders attending the Olympics Opening Ceremonies at the Great Hall of the People, President Arroyo received Hong Kong's Shimao Group which reiterated its plan to set up a ho tel complex at The Fort.


Led by its chairman, Shimao Hui Wing Mao, the Shimao Group told the President they are investing $700 million in the hotel project in cooperation with Andrew Tan of Megaworld.

 

* * * * *

 
RP-China two-way trade volume hits $30-billion 2 years ahead of 2010 targetBEIJING, People's Republic of China (PRC) – The two-way trade between the Philippines and China breached the $30-billion mark last year, a full two years ahead of the two countries' 2010 projected trade target.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that based on figures provided by the General Administration of Customs China Philippine-China trade in 2007 amounted to $30.62 billion.

This represents a 30.8 percent increase over the 2006 figure of $23.4 billion, with the Philippines enjoying a trade surplus since 2001.

Philippine-China trade has been growing at an average rate of 41.39 percent since 2001, based on figures released by the Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO).

"In 2006, bilateral trade with China amounted to $8.2 billion, with RP exports amounting to $4.6 billion and imports amounting to $3.7 billion, giving RP a surplus of $945 million," the NSO said.

Based on these figures, the NSO said that China is now the Philippines' third largest trading partner, after the US and Japan."

China's General Administration of Customs, however, has come up with an even more impressive assessment of Philippine-China trade, saying that "China is already supposed to be the Philippines' No. 1 trading partner."

China's customs office also reported that "trade imbalance in favor of RP is growing – RP exports to ChinaChina reached only $5.74 billion." amounted to S17.67 billion, while imports from

The trade figures were provided by China customs service as backgrounder to the four-day visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo' s four-day working visit to China to attend the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and the series of meetings she is holding with prospective Chinese investors in the Philippines.

* * * * *

President of Timor Leste to visit RP 10-13 Aug. 2008

President Jose Ramos-Horta of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste is scheduled to make a state visit to the Philippines from 10 to 13 August 2008.

President Horta will be accompanied by Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Zacarias Albino da Costa. Horta and De Costa will meet with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other Philippines government officials to discuss ways of further strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and Timor Leste.

The highlight of President Ramos-Horta' s visit will be the signing of three (3) bilateral agreements, namely: 1) Memorandum of Agreement of Marine and Fisheries Cooperation; 2) Memorandum of Agreement of Academic Cooperation; and 3) Memorandum of Understanding on the Training and Development of Timorese Diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute.

The Timorese leader has visited the Philippine twice before: first, as foreign minister in 2002, and second, as Prime Minister in 2007. This will be his first time to visit the Philippines as President of his country.

President Jose Ramos-Horta was initially scheduled to visit the Philippines in April last year to take part in a lecture tour of Nobel Prize laureates titled "Bridges: Dialogues Toward a Culture of Peace."

The visit was cancelled due to an assassination attempt against him and Prime Minister Gusmao on 11 Feb. 2008.

The Philippines was among the first to express its support for Timor Leste when the latter gained full independence from Indonesia in May 2002.

President Ramos-Horta is the second elected President of Timor-Leste.  The first was Kay Rala Xananan Gusmao, now the country's Prime Minister.

The Philippine and Timor Leste share the distinction of being the only predominantly Catholic countries in Asia.

* * * * *

 

Weekly Summary of Press Releases

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is off to Beijing on a three-day working visit to attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics and to hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other world leaders.

 

Chinese officials welcomed the President from the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.  She held discussions with several Chinese business leaders who have expressed interest in investing in the Philippines.  The President also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that allows two Chinese mining investors to explore for nickel in Zambales. 

 

The Chinese businessmen are among the many foreign investors now taking an interest in the Philippines’ mining sector.  Earlier, the British embassy also announced that a British mining company, Anglo-American, plans to invest US$500 million in a copper gold mine in Surigao del Norte.

 

Before she left, the President had instructed her Cabinet to closely monitor developments in Mindanao in the wake of the aborted signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on ancestral domain between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  She wanted to ensure that residents of Mindanao will have peace of mind, although no major security threat is expected, contrary to claims by certain sectors. 

 

The signing of the MOA on ancestral domain was set for Tuesday (Aug. 5) in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur but did not push through after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) pending its ruling on the petition of North Cotabato officials, which questioned the constitutionality of the MOA.

 

Stressing that the protection of civilians against security threats is still top priority, the government has given an ultimatum to alleged MILF forces, who forcibly occupied several barangays in North Cotabato, to leave the occupied areas peacefully or face police-military punitive action.  A Mindanao ceasefire committee is set up to resolve the matter.

 

The Palace meanwhile refuted the claims of the MILF that the MOA is a “done deal” and ready for implementation.  Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said that the government and the MILF are “not yet in the stage of a final compact or a comprehensive peace agreement.” 

 

Dureza assured that even if the MOA is eventually signed by the two parties, the document would still need an enabling law from Congress before a plebiscite could be held in the areas covered by the proposed Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity (BJE). 

 

Through the plebiscite, residents of the aforementioned areas would be free to decide whether or not they want to be included in the BJE.  “Only then can we study and go into the final compact,” Dureza said.  “So we are not tying down people here.  In fact, the whole process allows an opportunity for people to decide for themselves whether they want to be in or out.”

 

Dureza pointed that the ultimate aim of the MOA is to address the aspirations of generations of the Bangsa Moro people for lasting peace in Mindanao.

 

A peace agreement with the MILF consists of three aspects: the security aspect (ceasefire), the development aspect that has brought foreign international agencies, including the World Bank, to Muslim Mindanao to finance pilot development projects, and now, the ancestral domain aspect.

 

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Oversight, chaired by Rep. Danilo Suarez (3rd District, Quezon), has noted that due to the government’s sound economic policies, the Philippines is able to sustain its momentum amid high costs of food and fuel.  Suarez said the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) showed that the country is armed with the necessary tools to survive the predicament most of the nations in the world are presently facing.

 

The five major areas of reforms and programs under the MTPDP include economic growth and job creation, energy, social justice and basic needs, education and youth opportunity, and anti-corruption and good government.  Suarez said that Congress would concentrate its legislative efforts on these areas, which are in consonance with the President’s 10-point legislative agenda. # # #

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 09 August 2008 23:55
 

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