21 February 2017

Duterte trips land billion-dollar windfall
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella reported the “windfall” of President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign visits.

The President made seven international trips to twelve countries since he took office last year. These included Brunei, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru, New Zealand, Cambodia and Singapore.

“These visits incurred a total of about P277-million in expenses, which included airfare, charter lease, and others,” Abella disclosed.

From these foreign trips, China and Japan were the most fruitful, with investment pledges in the billions of dollars and estimated hundreds of thousands of jobs to be generated in the next few years.

“The visit to China resulted in more than 20 agreements with an estimated value, total value of US$4-billion and will generate over 100,000 jobs,” the Palace spokesperson continued.

Included in the agreements, Abella said, were a 50-million renminbi each for the construction of drug rehabilitation facilities and supply of equipment for law enforcement activities.

“The visit to Japan likewise produced investment commitments estimated at US$1.85-billion and will generate about 250,000 jobs in the next few years,” Abella said, adding five government-to-government agreements were executed that included Exchange of Notes Agreements of up to US$184-million.

Moreover, Abella mentioned 15 pipeline loans entered into by various national government agencies for various projects during the President’s visit to Japan, which include the constructions of North Avenue to FTI Taguig subway and the Manila to Clark high-speed railway.

Foreign trips made by the President, Abella underscored, form part of his obligation as Head of State to maintain and strengthen the country’s diplomatic ties with other nations.###PCO-Content

Palace eyes a sober, simple EDSA commemoration
Malacañan plans a “sober, simple, with no fanfare” celebration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution this Friday.

The EDSA People Power commemoration will be held inside the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, where the historical event began.

Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in a press briefing in Malacañan on Tuesday, February 21, said P1 million has been allotted for the EDSA People Power commemoration, saying that it will be a “day of reflection.”

As such, Guevarra said that this year’s activities will be low-key to give way to a deeper appreciation of the EDSA event.

“That is precisely the reason why there is no pomp in this year’s anniversary celebration,” Guevarra explained. “It’s a time to settle down, quiet a bit, and think of what has happened over the past 30 years.”

EDSA People Power Commission’s Jose Ma. Concepcion III echoed that “it is going to be a very simple affair” and that there had been a consensus to “do it on a Friday” since there are some groups which had planned different forms of activities on Saturday.

“We would like to see it as a day of reflection,” Concepcion said adding that the heroes of EDSA should be remembered.

Concepcion added that the goal would be to inspire the coming generations.

Spirit of EDSA’s Cecile Guidote – Alvarez echoed that the abuses of a dictatorial regime which led to the EDSA regime should not be forgotten.

“We don’t want amnesia inflicted on our nation,” she said.

Abella on achievements of Duterte’s administration

In the same briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the report by London-based professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers that the Philippines is number 19 in the list of 32 most powerful economies in the world by 2050.

“The Duterte administration aims to give Filipinos a stable and comfortable lifestyle consistent with Executive Order No. 5 or the “Ambisyon Natin 2040”, which PRRD signed last year, spelling out his long-term economic vision,” Abella said.

Abella also welcomed the Philippine Exporters Confederation’s (PHILEXPORT) report that the Philippines is seen as an upper middle-income economy by 2022.

“The reforms initiated by the Duterte administration, backed by its strong political will usher in the transformation of the Philippines,” Abella said.

“We are pushing for a comprehensive tax reform program and we hope to increase foreign investments in infrastructure through Charter change,” he said.

The Palace official meanwhile said that while the official foreign visits of President Rodrigo Duterte last year had incurred a total of about P277 million in expenses, his China visit alone has resulted in more than 20 agreements with a total value of US$4 billion and which will generate over a 100,000 jobs.

The President made a total of seven foreign trips, visiting a total of 12 countries since he took office last year.

Abella added that President Duterte’s visit to Japan last year produced investment commitments estimated at US$1.85 billion and will generate about 250,000 jobs in the next few years.

“There were also about five government-to-government agreements signed, including the exchange of note and agreements up to US$184 million,” Abella said.

“These official trips are part of the President’s obligation to maintain and strengthen diplomatic ties with neighboring countries and has clinched numerous economic investments and commitments amounting to billions of dollars — to billions of pesos and generate thousands of jobs in the following years,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Palace expressed its condolences to the families of the victims who died in the fatal bus mishap in Tanay, Rizal.

“The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has already been directed to ensure the road worthiness of the buses and to remind public utility drivers to guarantee the safety of all their passengers. The passengers must safely arrive at their respective destinations,” Abella said.

“The Commission on Higher Education is likewise conducting the necessary investigation to determine if proper procedures were observed by school authorities,” he added.

Andanar: Duterte continuous to enjoy public support

For his part, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that the President continues to enjoy the public’s support, adding the strides made by the Duterte administration in jumpstarting the economy and addressing corruption and law and order will ensure that efforts to unseat the president is ill advised.

Replying to reporters’ questions about a destabilization plot against the government starting with activities scheduled during the weekend, Andanar said the Palace will not waver in its commitment to democracy and good government.

“This administration takes criticism constructively and we do that everyday,” Andanar said.

Andanar pointed out the success of the administration in its war against illegal drugs as evidenced by the number of surrenderees and the subsequent decrease in the number of crimes against persons and property.###PND

ADB’s billion dollar loans, assistance, vital to eradicate poverty: Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte said he expects the release of billions of dollars in loans and technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the coming years to boost the country’s development initiatives.

The President attended on Tuesday, February 21, ADB’s 50th anniversary acknowledging the bank’s contributions to the development of the Philippines.

Speaking before the ADB’s officials and guests, he said the Philippines has received more than $16 billion from ADB in form of loans and grants, adding about a billion dollars more have also been released as loans and investments to private Philippine companies.

“These have made the ADB one of the largest official development assistance partners of the Philippines. For all of these, you have the gratitude of the entire Filipino people,” he said.

President Duterte said he is looking forward to the next round of release of the 4.22 billion dollars in loans and 9.3 million dollars in technical assistance from ADB in the next three years.

“These will be of help in realizing important development initiatives,” he said.

The President assured ADB that the Philippine government would redouble its effort to foster economic growth and reduce poverty.

With the participation of local governments, President Duterte said his administration is also streamlining business registration and processes, providing support for targeted sectors and intensifying the war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

The President also vowed zero tolerance to corruption.

In line with these reforms, he said the government is pushing for a simpler, fairer and more efficient tax collection and lower rates and a broader base, noting that his administration is also working on increasing infrastructure spending to 7.4 of the GDP by 2022.

At the same time, he said the government will also solicit the participation of private sector to develop the country’s infrastructure.

The government will also be funding free irrigation, free education in state universities and colleges, as well as universal health care, he said.

With ADB’s assistance, the President said he is confident that his administration will be able to uplift more people from poverty, expand the economy by about 50 percent in real terms, and make the Philippines an upper middle class income economy in 2022.

“May the ADB continue to be an important partner for development for the Philippines, the entire East Asia and the Pacific,” he said.

Established to help developing member countries reduce poverty and improve quality of life, ADB has so far extended $267 billion in financial assistance since 1966. ###PND