November 18, 2015 – News Releases
|18 November 2015|
APEC NEWS RELEASES
|Colombian President Santos pays courtesy call on President Aquino|
|Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with President Benigno S. Aquino III during a courtesy call in Malacañang Palace on Tuesday.
President Santos, who is also attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, was welcomed by President Aquino at the Palace lobby.
From the lobby, the two leaders proceeded to the Reception Hall where the Colombian president signed the guestbook with President Aquino as witness.
After the signing of the guestbook, they shook hands before proceeding to the Presidential Hall for the courtesy call.
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said that during the bilateral meeting that followed the courtesy call, President Aquino thanked President Santos for accepting the invitation to participate in the APEC-Pacific Alliance informal conversation.
Secretary Coloma said President Aquino has noted that Colombia’s efforts and initiatives to become a part of the APEC would hopefully find full fruition in the near future.
The Palace official said President Aquino congratulated President Santos on the significant developments in Colombia’s peace process and negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and conveyed good wishes on the scheduled signing of the final agreement in 2016.
President Aquino also offered the Philippines’ assistance and advice in the peace process, if needed, Coloma added.
Secretary Coloma likewise said that the two leaders noted their countries’ common concerns on combating illegal drug trade and drug abuse.
“Like Colombia, the Philippines is taking steps to improve the people’s quality of life by bringing social opportunities closer to them, thus channeling their energies to legitimate sources of income,” he said.
Coloma said President Aquino shared the country’s experiences on such programs as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Conditional Cash Transfer, and the PhilHealth universal health care, to address poverty issues that previously bred insurgency, noting common challenges faced by both countries.
President Santos, on the other hand, offered Colombia’s knowledge and experience in their campaign against insurgency and illegal drugs, citing a decades-long fight in these two fronts, Coloma said.
According to Coloma, President Santos also said that Colombia is looking up to the Philippines as a vital resource in mitigating the effects of climate chance.
President Aquino said that the Philippines will share learnings and best practices in building back better and establishing disaster resiliency, Coloma further said.
Aside from Coloma, also present during the courtesy call were Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Linglingay Lacanlale, Finance Undersecretary Jeremias Paul Jr., and Defense Undersecretary Pio Batino.
Those who attended from the Colombian side were Foreign Affairs Minister Maria Angela Cuellar, Trade Minister Cecilia Alvarez-Correa Glen, Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla, Presidential Secretary Enrique Riviera Bornacelli, Sergio Londono Zurek, and Maria Claudia Lacouture. PND (jm)
|Mexican President arrives in Manila for state visit, APEC Leaders’ Week|
|President Enrique Peña Nieto of the United Mexican States arrived in Manila on Tuesday to embark on his first state visit to the Philippines and participate in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week.
The Mexican Air Force One carrying President Peña and his official delegation landed just before 1 p.m. at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, where he was accorded foyer honors and welcomed by top Philippine officials.
Shortly after, President Peña proceeded to the Rizal Park and Plaza Hidalgo to lay wreaths in honor of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and the 201st Squadron of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force that aided the Allies during World War II.
The visiting Mexican head-of-state will then make his way to Malacañang for the official welcome ceremony to be led by President Benigno S. Aquino III. They will then hold bilateral talks aimed at fostering diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Mexico.
The two leaders will issue joint press statements after witnessing the signing of three agreements. President Aquino will also host a state dinner in honor of his Mexican counterpart.
Like President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, President Peña decided to make his first trip to the Philippines concurrent with his attendance to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.
Mexico joined the APEC in November 1993. Mexico, Chile and Peru represent Latin America in the 21-member Asia-Pacific bloc that annually meets to promote free trade and other economic policies throughout the region. PND (hdc)
|Philippines, Colombia leaders discuss concerns on combatting illegal drugs|
|(MANILA) Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday held a bilateral meeting and discussed common concerns on combating illegal drug trade and drug abuse.
”The two leaders noted their countries’ common concerns on combating illegal drug trade and drug abuse,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. informed the Malacañang media.
”Like Colombia, the Philippines is taking steps to improve people’s quality of life by bringing social opportunities closer to them, thus channeling their energies to legitimate sources of income,” Coloma added.
Coloma said Pres. Santos offered Colombia’s knowledge and experience in anti-insurgency and anti-illegal drugs campaign, citing decades-long fight in these two fronts.
Pres. Aquino also congratulated the Colombian leader for significant developments in Colombia’s peace process and negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
”President Aquino expressed good wishes on scheduled signing of final agreement in 2016,” Coloma said.
Coloma said Pres. Aquino offered the Philippines’ assistance and advice in the peace process.
The Philippine government is also conducting a similar peace negotiation with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) and the Muslim rebels in Mindanao.
At present, Malacañang is pushing for Congress passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which, if passed into law, would lead to the successful peace negotiation between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Aquino also shared the Philippines’ experiences on programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program and PhilHealth universal health care to address poverty issues that previously bred insurgency, noting common challenges faced by both countries.
Santos, according to Coloma, is looking up to the Philippines as a vital resource in adapting to and mitigating the effects of the climate change.
”President Aquino said that the Philippines will share learning and best practices in building back better and establishing disaster resiliency,” Coloma said.
Aquino also thanked the Colombian president for accepting the invitation to participate in the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)-Pacific Alliance informal conversation.
Santos is the second leader who held bilateral meeting with Pres. Aquino during the ongoing 2015 APEC Summit.
Last Monday, Pres. Aquino and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet held expanded bilateral meeting that resulted in the signing of two agreements on trade and disaster risk reduction management. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Foreign Affairs secretary highlights country’s achievements during APEC hosting|
|Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Tuesday said the Philippines’ year-long hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has two major achievements – the agreement to a services cooperation framework and the strategy for strengthening the Asia-Pacific region’s quality growth.
In a press briefing at the International Media Center at the World Trade Center, Secretary del Rosario said the APEC Services Cooperation Framework will develop a Services Competitiveness Roadmap to improve trade and investment in the services sector over the next 10 years.
“This work is vital because we know that every US$1 million of services exports generate 105 jobs; whereas goods exports generate only 59 jobs for the same amount. Not only (does) the services trade create new jobs but it allows people from all parts of the economy to participate in the economic and social mainstream,” he said, noting that in the Philippines, services account for more than 50 percent of the total gross domestic product in a given year.
Meanwhile, the strategy to strengthen quality growth was borne out of the Philippines’ leadership to expand discussions on the unique relationship between trade and development, he said.
“We considered that one of the key ways to achieve quality economic growth is through good governance measures,” del Rosario said.
“The strategy focuses on institution building through governance, social cohesion and environmental impact of economic activities as key accountability areas for each economy. It underscores how quality growth is not just about the economic well-being of every individual and of every economy but also about how growth can be sustained over the medium to long term through a whole of economy approach.”
The strategy, he said, will enable the APEC’s development agenda to come to full fruition.
Del Rosario also expressed his gratitude to the APEC ministers who continue to support the Philippines’ chairmanship of the APEC 2015 summit. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Paris terrorist attacks not included in APEC Ministers’ joint statement|
|(MANILA) The Paris attacks that killed 129 people and injured 300 more was not included in this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers’ joint statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Tuesday.
Secretary del Rosario said the ministers were not able to come up with a group position on the terrorist attack against France, but noted that “everyone spoke the same language” of sympathy and condemnation.
“I don’t think we did as ministers,” he said when asked about including the Paris attacks in their joint statement.
Del Rosario, together with Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, held the APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) press conference at the International Media Center (IMC) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
There was a “common refrain” wherein “everyone expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks”, he said.
“There was a call for unity of nations and peoples, and there was traditionally, a call for bringing to justice those who perpetuated the horrific developments in Paris last Friday (November 13),” del Rosario said, adding that each minister commented on the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Although these commentaries were contained in the minutes of the ministers’ meeting, there was no stand-alone statement for it, nor was it included in their joint statement.
“These are personal expressions of sympathies and condemnation,” del Rosario said.
Paris was rocked on Friday last week by separate bombings and ambushes in at least six central locations.
About 129 were confirmed dead and 300 were injured, 100 of whom were critical, in the hands of terrorists who have been identified as members of the Syria-based Islamic State. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Trans-Pacific Partnership, other trade deals to support Asia-Pacific economic integration|
|(MANILA) Ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific economies are expecting to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade agreements to further support regional economic integration, as they aim to complete a study on the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) by end of 2016.
Philippine Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the TPP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other bilateral and regional trade agreements are “all building blocks” for the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.
Domingo said such trade agreements also provide benefits to multilateral trading system, which is the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“Because by having more of this regional or bilateral, plurilateral type of agreements, we actually advance the position of the free trade regimes which makes it easier to conclude at a bigger group such as the FTAAP and eventually the WTO. So these are all building blocks, that’s how it is deemed,” he said in a press conference Tuesday after the conclusion of the APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM).
The US-led TPP, the ASEAN-based RCEP process and the Pacific Alliance are the three proposed pathways to the FTAAP.
The trade official said the initial version of the strategic study on issues related to realization of the FTAAP is expected to be completed by January next year.
“Basically, they’d like to see the work continue on the study for FTAAP and there is a target that the submission of a comprehensive study and accompanying recommendations by the end of 2016,” Domingo said.
The study would be reported to the APEC Leaders when they meet in Peru by end of 2016. Peru is next year’s APEC host economy.
APEC’s 21 member economies control half of the world trade and account for 60 percent of the global economy. They are home to nearly three billion consumers in some of the world’s most vibrant economies.
APEC’s member economies are the United States; Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Republic of Korea; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; and Viet Nam. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Philippines, Vietnam affirm commitment to strengthen strategic partnership|
|(MANILA) The Philippines and Vietnam on Tuesday signed a joint statement on the establishment of strategic partnership particularly on economic, agricultural, maritime and defense and security issues.
Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh signed the agreement during the bilateral meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang at the Malacanang Palace.
”I am truly pleased to say that today our Foreign Ministers signed the Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between our countries, a vital step towards strengthening the friendship our peoples have enjoyed all these centuries,” President Aquino said in a joint press statement after the two leaders’ bilateral talks.”President Aquino and I just had fruitful talks with many tangible outcomes. This is indeed a historic event, marking a new era for cooperation between our two countries, while making contributions to the maintenance of peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” the Vietnam leader, for his part, said.
The two leaders also affirmed joint efforts in establishing strategic partnership in political; judicial and law enforcement cooperation; and, socio-cultural, technical & multilateral cooperation, according to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
President Aquino said the agreement on the establishment of a strategic partnership is a vital step towards strengthening the friendship that the peoples of the two countries have enjoyed “all these centuries.”
”This comes at an auspicious period as we prepare for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Vietnam, come 2016,” President Aquino said.
The two leaders also intensified maritime cooperation in maritime safety and law enforcement amid reports of China’s massive structures building in the West Philippine Sea which is also being partly claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.
”We also reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the stability, maritime security, safety and freedom of navigation and of flight in the South China Sea, as well as settling maritime disputes on the basis of international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he added.
President Aquino and President Truong also discussed cooperation in combating human and illegal drug trafficking, according to Coloma.
The two leaders also strongly denounced the terrorist attacks that killed 129 people in Paris last November 12.
”We also send the deepest condolences and our sympathy to the huge losses and casualties of the victims and their families as well as to the government and people of France. And we strongly believe that with the strong efforts, which are (being) undertaken by the French government and people, the terrorists will soon be brought to justice,” President Truong said.
Meanwhile, the Philippines and Vietnam also signed the Exchange of the Signed Protocol to amend the 2010 memorandum of agreement on the supply of Vietnamese rice to the Philippines.
President Truong arrived in Manila Tuesday morning with wife Mai Thi Hanh to attend the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit slated Nov. 18-19 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
The 21 APEC member-economies include United States, Japan, China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Obama reiterates commitment to Asia-Pacific security, pledges 2 more ships to Phl|
|(MANILA) After touring the Filipino frigate, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (formerly the US Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton) Tuesday, American President Barack Obama reiterated the US commitment to the region’s security.
This took place at the Manila South Harbor where the Filipino warship was moored.The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is the first ever ship transferred to the Philippines during Obama’s term. It was commissioned by the Philippine Navy (PN) in December 2011.
“The United States has been committed to the security of this region for more than 70 years. We have a treaty obligation, ironclad commitment to the defense of our ally the Philippines,” he said.
Obama arrived in the Philippines Tuesday for the Nov 18-19 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Manila.
“Our visit here underscores our shared commitment to the security of the waters of this region, and to freedom of navigation,” he said.
American help was demonstrated in the recent construction of a Coast Watch Center which was funded by US grants and instrumental in helping the country protect its maritime borders along with the former US cutter.
“This watch center was built with US grants. The ship that I just toured, a former US coast guard vessel, helps the Philippines respond to disasters, perform counter-terrorism missions and patrol the South China Sea,” Obama stressed.
In line with this, he also announced American intentions to transfer two additional ships to the Philippines.
This consists of a research vessel and another decommissioned US Coast Guard cutter.
“I can announce that we intend to transfer two additional ships to the Philippine Navy – a research vessel to help man its territorial waters and another Coast Guard cutter to bolster the Navy’s ability to conduct long endurance patrols,” Obama said.
He added these ships worth USD 250 million are part of their larger plan to increase maritime security assistance to their allies and partners across the Pacific Region.
“More capable navies and partnership with the United States are critical for the security of this region,” Obama said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|President Nieto says Philippine visit to further strengthen Philippine-Mexico ties|
|Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said his state visit to the Philippines will further strengthen the already durable ties between the two countries forged by shared history several hundred years ago.
In his message Tuesday during a toast to President Aquino, Nieto said the two countries, under Spanish rule, was tied by the Acapulco Galleon trade 450 years ago.
The Manila Galleon set sail from the Philippines to the port of Acapulco, in Mexico carrying goods from Asia to the Americas, he said.
“This historic commercial route linked our nations and approached our peoples. More than four centuries later, it remains a symbol of shared identity,” Nieto said in his message.
In the 20th century, the deep relationship of friendship between the two nations was once again confirmed when Mexico sent the Expeditionary Mexican Air Force, during World War II, reinforcing Filipino troops.
Today, more than seven decades after that war, the Philippines and Mexico are united in their commitment to positive transformation, aimed at elevating the quality of life of their societies, he said.
Nieto also recognized the great contribution of the Aquino family to the Philippine democracy noting the struggles of President Aquino’s parents as well as the chief executive himself.
The Aquino family fought for liberties and rights of the Filipino people that although not easy, it has borne positive results.
“President Aquino, you lead a government that projects to the world an irrevocable commitment to the modernization of the Philippines and the well-being of its people,” Nieto told the President.
“I wish to express that you can count on Mexico and the Mexican people support towards that goal.”
Mexico recognizes that Asia-Pacific is an essential region in the 21st century and the Philippines is Mexico’s great ally.
“With this State Visit, we honor our past; we celebrate our current similarities and we are committed to a better future for Filipinos and Mexicans.”
|APEC, G20 share common economic goals, says Indonesian Vice President|
|(MANILA) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Group of Twenty (G20) share the common goal of achieving stable global economic growth and quality, as well as inclusive growth, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said.
At the APEC CEO Summit 2015 in Makati City on Wednesday, Vice President Kalla said the strengthening of synergy of policies in both fora will support the recovery and stability of the global economy and ensure that growth would trickle down.
Indonesia is a member of both APEC and G20.
The G20 concluded its 2015 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Monday and was attended by a number of APEC member economies, among them Indonesia, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM), on the other hand, began on Wednesday.
“The G20 Meeting highlighted important priorities: global recovery and strengthening potentials, enhancing alliance and reinforcing sustainability. These priorities are very much in line with the theme of APEC this year, which focuses on growth and inclusiveness,” Kalla said.
“APEC and G20 share the same goals: maintain regional and global stability (and) promotion of equality and inclusiveness, which means no one will be left behind in the development process,” the Indonesian vice president stressed.
Kalla, who is attending the two-day AELM for Indonesian President Joko Widodo, said Indonesia expects greater cooperation among APEC member economies to achieve the forum’s targets of free and open trade and investments.
He noted that these targets of free and open trade and investments, known as the ‘Bogor Goals’, were declared by APEC Leaders in Bogor, Indonesia in 1994.
“Collaboration among nations is key for the global economy to make a turnaround,” he said.
On the part of Indonesia, he said, the government has opened its economy and developed a more conducive and fair business environment for all players — local or foreign.
“Indonesia continues to open its economy to all businessmen and foreign investors, including APEC economies to participate in the development in Asia. In return, we hope that our colleagues from other countries will do the same,” Kalla said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Filipina tells Obama, APEC CEOs: ‘climate change is like cancer — and the world is at stage 2’|
|(MANILA) Climate change is like cancer and the world is at Stage 2, young Filipina entrepreneur Aisa Mijeno told United States President Barack Obama and participants in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit 2015 here Wednesday.
“Climate change is real and not a myth created by scientists to get funding. It is like cancer,” Mijeno said, citing the four stages of the disease — cell mutation, symptoms, manifest effects, and decline.
“I believe we are at Stage 2,” said the founder of SALt Lamps, which manufactures ocean water-powered lamps for island communities that are not connected to major power grids.
“Believe me, you don’t want to go to Stage 4,” interjected President Obama, who played host to tech giant Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and Mijeno.
At the start of his session, Obama made a pitch for renewable energy, noting how big US businesses like Apple, Google, and Costco are saving billions of dollars by tapping into solar and other renewable energy sources.
Obama said climate change could be viewed as a business opportunity.
The US President is one of 20 economic leaders from the Pacific Rim attending the APEC Summit that is being hosted by the Philippines. (PCOO APEC Communications Team)
|Philippines, Australia sign agreement on Comprehensive Partnership, Technical-Vocational Education|
|The Philippines and Australia on Wednesday agreed to strengthen cooperation and engagement on regional and international issues, during their bilateral meeting at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.
President Benigno S. Aquino III and his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, signed the Joint Declaration on Philippines-Australia Comprehensive Partnership, which acknowledges the two countries’ long legacy of cooperation in all aspects of relations that date back to 1946.
Also signed after the bilateral meeting was the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) between the Philippines’ Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Australia’s Department of Education and Training. Signatories to this agreement were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines William Thomas Ross.
“The Philippines and Australia have been partners in peace, stability, and progress for almost 70 years now. We look forward to further deepening our engagement in all areas through a strong comprehensive partnership founded on the desire to uplift and empower our peoples, our region, and the wider community of nations,” President Aquino said during the joint press conference following the signing of the agreements.
He noted that the Philippines is keen on working with other countries to achieve “de-radicalization” of individuals and groups that pose security threats.
“We reaffirmed the importance of engagement and cooperation in the political, defense and security, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism fields, among others. We also exchanged views on regional security challenges, including maritime security, and, with this, committed to continue our bilateral consultations on how to address them,” the Chief Executive said.
He also thanked Australia for supporting the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, humanitarian assistance and the country’s help in terms of disaster risk reduction management.
“The Prime Minister and I committed to continue working closely towards more substantive and meaningful activities between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Australian Defense Force to build trust and confidence and enhance interoperability. In particular, I thanked Prime Minister Turnbull for Australia’s continuous support to the modernization of the Philippines, including the recent donation of two landing craft heavy vessels to the Philippine Navy. These are significant assets, not only to our defense, but also and more importantly, to our disaster response capabilities. One of these vessels, in fact, was used in our Navy’s relief operations in the wake of Typhoon Koppu (Typhoon Lando),” the President said.
President Aquino also expressed his gratitude to Australia for its post-Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda) support.
“In disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), Australia has never failed to extend a helping hand to the Filipino people. Now, we are working with one another to enhance the Philippines’ DRRM capacities through the Resilience and Preparedness towards Inclusive Development (RAPID) Programme,” said the Chief Executive.
President Aquino likewise expressed appreciation for Australia’s continuing support for many aspects of development, such as public-private partnerships (PPP), the peace process, and technical-vocational education and training.
“Australia’s partnership has been invaluable in other areas, as the Philippines works to meet our development goals: from those in education, to infrastructure development, to the realization of peace, stability, and progress in Mindanao. I wish to note the significant role that Australia played in programs and projects, such as the School Building Program for Basic Education, Provincial Road Management Facility, and the Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Program, among others,” he said.
“As our bilateral relations have strengthened throughout the years, Prime Minister Turnbull and I also noted the increase in bilateral trade between our economies. In particular, I thanked him for the support that Australia has given our public-private partnership (PPP) programs. A stronger policy, legal, institutional, and regulatory environment for PPPs has been created, through their help, and we look forward to continued cooperation with Australia in this area.”
The President further welcomed the finalization of the Philippines-Australia Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in TVET, which “will allow us to share knowledge, information, and best practices with each other, particularly in areas of mutual interest, and collaborate on significant projects that will enable both the Australian and the Filipino peoples to take hold of their own destinies”.
For his part, Prime Minister Turnbull said the signing of the two agreements has “deepened further” his country’s friendship with the Philippines.
“We are very, very good friends—the Philippines and Australia—and our friendship has deepened further and been strengthened further today by the signing of these agreements that you have just witnessed. Can I say that we appreciate very much your commitment to the rule of law in this area, in this region? Your commitment to ensuring that the big economic changes that we are witnessing, that roll around us, are accompanied by commitment to international norms and that is very, very important,” said Turnbull, who also congratulated the Philippines for its successful hosting of the APEC.
The Australian leader said his country is keen to continue helping the Philippines in terms of providing more equipment on defense.
“We have had a very good discussion today about the work we can do together in terms of defense cooperation, and we appreciate your thanks for the landing craft—the heavy landing crafts that we provided to the Philippines, and we look forward to more support in that area,” he said.
He also said his country is “very appreciative of the advice that you have given us in terms of the global struggle against terrorism”.
“The Philippines is no stranger to violent extremism and your government has been—and your predecessors’ governments have been very strong in their defense of the civil order. And I thought your views on the radicalization were particularly informative and very helpful to us as we consider our responses in Australia,” said Prime Minister Turnbull. PND (jm)
|Philippines, Russia sign pacts on enhancing trade, fighting illegal drugs|
|The Philippines and Russia on Wednesday signed two agreements aimed at enhancing their trade cooperation and fighting the spread of illegal narcotics.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo and Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev signed the Agreement on the Establishment of a Philippine-Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which will serve as the primary mechanism to facilitate and promote trade and economic cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.
Through the trade pact, the two countries will identify measures to facilitate the flow of bilateral trade and investments, and explore areas and sectors where cooperation could be expanded and intensified.
The agreement envisions the participation of the private sector and business community, as well as experts in the economic field to complement governmental efforts to bolster Philippines-Russia economic cooperation.
The Department of Trade and Industry and Russia’s Ministry for Economic Development will spearhead the implementation of the agreement. The two countries also signed the Memorandum between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Narcotics Traffic Control on Cooperation in Combatting New Psychoactive Substances.
Director General of the PDEA Arturo Cacdac, Jr. and Vladimir Kalanda, First Deputy Director of the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Narcotics Traffic Control, signed the memorandum, which aims to strengthen Philippines-Russia cooperation to address problems relative to the production, spread, and abuse of new psychoactive substances.
It will be carried out through the exchange of information and methods, advisory and expertise assistance, and the conduct of research, among others.
The memorandum is in line with the Philippines’ efforts to combat the use of illegal drugs in the country, which will also complement the Philippines-Russia agreement, signed in 2007, to combat the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors.
It will be implemented by the PDEA and the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Narcotics Traffic Control.
|AirAsia CEO to APEC CEOs: invest in ASEAN, invest in people|
|MANILA: Doing business in the ASEAN region has a huge potential for APEC economies, said AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes Tuesday, as he invited businessmen from the Asia Pacific to invest in the Southeast Asian region.
At the APEC CEO Summit 2015, Fernandes recounted his own experience turning around a failing airline company into a successful ASEAN company with the help of his staff and their practical knowledge derived from working on their jobs every day.
When he and his partner started the company 14 years ago, they only had two planes. Now AirAsia has a fleet of 200 planes, each able to carry 2,000 passengers or a total of 55 million passengers every year.
Fernandes acknowledged that most AirAsia innovations, both products and processes, were suggested by his employees.
For instance, he initially resisted the ground crew’s suggestions to buy the machine that brings the luggage up into and down out of the plane, but as he himself did some of the heavy work (as part of his learning about airline operations), he became convinced that the expensive equipment was a necessity.
This active listening is a strategy that has worked for AirAsia, he said.
To match this strategy, Fernandes said he also dresses more casually to get AirAsia staff to talk to him.
Once, a dispatcher who left school at 14 approached him and told him that he has always wanted to become a pilot. Fernandes supported the boy and now, “he is one of the best pilots of AirAsia.”
Having his ear on the ground allows him to improve operations, he said. And these are just some of the ways he elicits points for improvement from his employees.
ASEAN AS A MARKET
“This is the ASEAN market and we have created an ASEAN company,” he said.
To cater to this market, AirAsia as a budget airline was conceptualized.
“We see enormous potential in Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia going forward, creating the ASEAN market,” he said.
Fernandes stressed that Asia Pacific’s biggest strength is its people — as a market and as human resource for companies.
“If we put people first, everyone wins,” he said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Indonesia seeks international help to restore razed forests|
|(MANILA) After apologizing to Malaysia and Singapore for the haze that has choked the two countries, Indonesia said it is embarking on a big project to restore the razed forests to create palm plantations.
“I’m sorry to Malaysia and Singapore because we can’t control the wind. We don’t want the haze to be going everywhere, but we can’t control the wind,” Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said at the “Securing Growth in a Volatile World” session with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEOs held on Wednesday.
Vice President Kalla called for “international cooperation” to restore millions of hectares of biodiverse rainforests converted to single-species plantations.
These tropical rainforests benefit not only Indonesia but also the world, he said, expressing hope that his country would receive help in rehabilitating them.
Next year, Indonesia will work to reduce haze, he said, asking for cooperation because “we cannot do it alone, especially with El Niño.”
Many foreign companies are involved in the burning of Indonesia’s natural forests for conversion to palm plantations. The burning releases millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|President Aquino, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev hold bilateral meeting, agree on stronger cooperation|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III has invited Russia to enhance its trade cooperation with the Philippines in IT-BPM, processed and specialty food, energy and renewables, design-driven products, and aerospace.
During his bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday, the President noted the great potential offered by large-scale public and private sector contracts, such as AG&P’s participation in the Yamal LNG project in the Far East.
Promising more trade exchanges, President Aquino highlighted the celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and the Philippines next year.
The Philippine leader also offered his condolences to Prime Minister Medvedev over the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 that killed more than 200 people.
For his part, Prime Minister Medvedev conveyed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s felicitations and expressed his personal elation on his first visit to the Philippines.
He congratulated President Aquino for the government’s impressive handling of the economy, saying that Russia wants to scale up its economic cooperation with the Philippines in energy, telecommunications, and transport infrastructure.
The Russian leader invited the Philippines to participate in the transportation expo to be held in Moscow next year.
Medvedev also said Russia is open to a military and defense cooperation with the Philippines, similar to existing agreements with the country’s neighboring states.
Russia, he said, is also willing to train Filipino students and wants to intensify bilateral ties at the diplomatic, business and entrepreneurial fronts.
The Russian leader also expressed his admiration for the country’s beautiful weather. PND (as)
|Philippines, U.S. to enhance defense alliance|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III and United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday agreed to enhance the two countries’ defense ties, during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
In a joint press conference following the meeting, held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City, President Aquino noted the country’s defense and security alliance with the US, “which began more than 60 years ago; to this day, it remains a cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific”.
“We reaffirmed our treaty alliance, the strategic partnership and the historic friendship between our countries. I am confident that this firm foundation of broad cooperation and shared values will enable the Philippines and the United States to face the challenges of the present and those in the decades to come,” the President said.
The Philippines thanked the US for its support for the advocacy of upholding the rule of the law in the West Philippine Sea issue and for recognizing the country’s initiation of arbitral proceedings in an open, friendly, durable and rules-based settlement mechanism.
“President Obama and I likewise had a discussion on maritime security, including on the maritime disputes in the region, and how international law should remain the framework for behavior of all countries and for the peaceful resolution of disputes,” President Aquino said.
“I take this opportunity to reiterate the Philippines’ view that the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea must be continuously upheld, consistent with international law.”
The Philippines also thanked the US for its Foreign Military Financing assistance and for supporting the construction of the National Coast Watch Center.
“As a treaty ally of the United States, the Philippines receives security assistance from the US Government, particularly through Foreign Military Financing (FMF). We recognize, with the deepest appreciation, the significant contribution to our efforts by the United States—contributions that help us ensure that we can ably respond to current security challenges, particularly in the area of maritime security and maritime domain awareness,” said the President.
“The National Coast Watch Center (NCWC), completed early this year, was constructed with significant assistance from the United States. This project was first discussed during my visit to Washington DC in 2012, and our administration is pleased to see it come to fruition this year,” he added.
President Aquino also expressed support for US efforts on countering violent extremism and promoting cyber security cooperation.
“We also exchanged views on cyber security threats and resolved to explore cooperation in this area, knowing full well that all countries have a stake in maintaining peace and order in cyberspace, so that principles of international law can be applied. This area of collaboration with the United States can impact positively on the capacity of the Philippine Government to effectively and swiftly respond to cyber security threats and challenges,” he explained.
On the economic front, President Aquino welcomed the “continued strengthening of trade and investment relations” between the two countries.
“I conveyed the keen interest of the Philippines in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and we hope that the United States, as one of our most important economic partners, can assist us in the process,” he said.
President Aquino said he is hopeful that a meaningful agreement will be reached during the COP 21 in Paris.
“As a country highly vulnerable to climate and disaster risks, the Philippines underscores the importance of all countries contributing to the global effort to address the problem of climate change for the benefit of future generations,” the President said.
Meanwhile, President Obama affirmed that the US alliance with the Philippines remains strong.
“The Philippines and the United States are great allies, so this is an occasion for me to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the security and defense of the Philippines. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder: “balikatan”. I am grateful for my partnership with President Aquino, who has been a valuable and trusted friend to the United States,” said President Obama.
“Here in the Philippines, you are pursuing reforms and good governance; together, we support a rule-based order in the region, which is critical to regional security and the global economy. Now, our rebalance to the Asia Pacific is rooted in our treaty alliances, including with the Philippines. Our Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, when implemented, will bring our militaries even closer together, and we are especially committed to ensuring maritime security in the region, including freedom of navigation,” he added.
President Obama announced that the US is increasing its maritime assistance to the Philippines to record levels, including two new vessels.
“We discussed the impact of China’s reclamation and construction activities on regional stability. We agreed on the need for bold steps to lower tensions, including pledging to halt further reclamation, new construction, and militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea,” said the US leader.
“As President Aquino indicated, disputes need to be resolved peacefully, that’s why the United States support the Philippines’ decision to use arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to peacefully and lawfully address differences,” he added.
Furthermore, President Obama welcomed the Philippines’ interest in the TPP.
“We also had a chance to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is a pillar of America’s rebalance in the region. We welcome the Philippines’ interest in TPP and we have directed our Trade Ministers to have discussions about how TPP is going to be implemented among the original 12 countries and how we can work with the Philippines to follow through on their interest. TPP is designed to be an open and inclusive trade pact for countries that can meet its high standards,” he said.
President Obama has also expressed willingness to provide assistance to the Philippines on meeting climate change goals.
“We discussed the urgent challenge of climate change, a threat to which the Philippines is especially vulnerable. I appreciate the contribution that President Aquino has made in climate talks over the last year. The Philippines has recognized the importance of a global agreement for the future of this country and the world and we look forward to a successful outcome in Paris,” President Obama said. PND (jm)
|Obama urges APEC economies to support businesses undertaking environment-friendly measures|
|(MANILA) United States President Barack Obama has called on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies to be supportive of business innovations that promote a good environmental sense.
In his remarks at the APEC CEO Summit on Wednesday, President Obama stressed that there is “no contradiction between growth, development, and being good stewards of the planet”.
“We can transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers,” the American leader pointed out.
He cited as examples US-based companies Apple and Costco, which are among the largest companies that have invested in green technologies.
Just recently, Apple was lauded by Greenpeace as the world’s most environmentally big technology company, after committing to draw 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources over the long term.
This year, the company has begun work on two solar-powered data centers in Ireland and Denmark, and it is also constructing two major solar power projects in China’s Sichuan province.
According to President Obama, the US retail giant Walmart has been installing solar panels on its stores’ rooftops to improve its corporate image and control energy costs.
Walmart has even pledged to double its solar installations by 2020 and in the long term, it wants to get all of its electricity from renewables.
“Such companies have invested as much as US$168 billion for their environment-friendly measures,” he said.
President Obama underscored that economies “must act now” to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it is too late.
“No nation is immune to the consequences of a changing climate,” he said.
President Obama said an ambitious agreement in Paris will prompt investors to invest in clean energy technologies.
He was referring to the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), to be held in Paris this December.
Obama said the US has already built renewable energy plants last year while China pledged to reduce its global emissions.
“We need clean and sustainable energy, good technologies,” said President Obama, noting that nations, including the Philippines, are now working towards addressing climate change. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|APEC, other nations urged to emulate Alibaba’s online shopping model to boost small businesses|
|The chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., on Wednesday urged Asia-Pacific economies and other nations to emulate its online shopping model to help their small businesses flourish and benefit from the globalization promoted by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
During the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Chief Executive Officers (CEO) Summit, Jack Ma shared that the company has helped 12 million small businesses in China grow through the use of its online platform to sell their products.
Ma said its sales in China have reached US$500 billion this year, with about 120 million people shopping at Alibaba’s site using mobile phones.
“I am interested how we can use this technology to influence more people, to help small business. Well, if China can do it, why the other nations cannot do it,” he noted.
Ma said the online shopping model provides huge business opportunities, especially with the so-called “internet generation”, comprising about 1.5 billion people in the world, born after 1980s.
“Let us think about this new generation (of) 1.5 billion people. They are different from ours. How we can change ourselves to meet their needs? This is the challenge,” he said.
Over the past 10 years, Ma observed that globalization has helped prop up the global economy, the big companies, and developed nations.
“The developing countries, the small guys, did not benefit enough from globalization,” he said. “In (the) next 20 years, we should use (the) WTO to support small guys… Small guys are the most innovative companies,” he said.
Ma said he expects more companies like Apple Inc., Alibaba, Amazon, e-Bay and Facebook, to be owned by the “internet generation” in the future. PNA (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)
|Philippines, U.S. reaffirm strong ties, discuss key issues to improve regional security|
|The Philippines and the United States amplified their longstanding alliance on Wednesday, as President Benigno S. Aquino III and President Barack Obama held bilateral talks revolving around economic, trade, climate change and other security-related matters.
As many have expected, the two leaders discussed maritime disputes in the South China Sea, which they both highlighted during a joint press conference at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
“I take this opportunity to reiterate the Philippines’ view that the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea must be continuously upheld, consistent with international law,” President Aquino said.
While it has no standing claim over the disputed waters and territories, the United States acts as a keen observer on the issue, advocating freedom of navigation for the sake of regional security and global economic stability.
“We agreed on the need for bold steps to lower tensions, including pledging to halt further reclamation, new construction, and militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea,” President Obama said, as he noted the impact of China’s assertiveness on regional stability.
“As President Aquino indicated, disputes need to be resolved peacefully, that’s why the United States support the Philippines’ decision to use arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to peacefully and lawfully address differences,” he added.
President Obama mentioned the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) as a perfect tool to bring the Philippine and American militaries even closer to ensure better maritime security in the region.
The EDCA was signed in Manila last year during President Obama’s state visit, but its constitutionality is currently being questioned by some sectors before the Philippine Supreme Court, which the American leader said he understands.
“Obviously, the Philippines has to go through its process in the Supreme Court review, but we are confident that it is going to get done and we are going to be able to implement effectively the provisions and the ideas that have come forward during the course of these discussions,” President Obama said.
“The broader point is that, as a treaty ally, we have a rock solid commitment to the defense of the Philippines. And part of our goal is to continue to help our treaty partners build up capacity, to make sure that the architecture of both defense work, but also humanitarian work, and other important activities in the region are coordinated more effectively, and we think that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement is going to help us do that,” the American leader added.
President Aquino said he “recognizes with deepest appreciation” all the assistance extended by the US government towards improving the Philippines’ response in the face of many challenges.
In the area of security, President Aquino cited in particular the assistance Manila has received from the US through its Foreign Military Financing program and its help in the construction of the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC).
The NCWC, which will serve as the Philippines’ national maritime point of contact for maritime security cooperation, was completed early this year. It was a project the two leaders first discussed during President Aquino’s visit to Washington, DC in 2012.
President Aquino said they also discussed the Philippine Strategic Trade Management Act, which will enforce measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction from or within the country, in fulfillment of its international obligations.
“We look forward to its implementation upon the completion of domestic procedures,” the Philippine leader said of the measure, also known as Republic Act 10697, which he signed into law very recently.
The two leaders, moreover, exchanged views on cyber security threats and explored areas of cooperation to combat them amid rapid technological developments happening in the world.
President Aquino raised the issue, “knowing full well that all countries have a stake in maintaining peace and order in cyberspace, so that principles of international law can be applied”.
On the economic front, the two leaders tackled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), considered a “pillar of America’s rebalance in the region”.
“We welcome the Philippines’ interest in TPP and we have directed our Trade Ministers to have discussions about how TPP is going to be implemented among the original 12 countries and how we can work with the Philippines to follow through on their interest. TPP is designed to be an open and inclusive trade pact for countries that can meet its high standards,” President Obama said.
President Aquino also announced that the Philippines is nearing its completion of the 1st Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact and has been deemed eligible for a 2nd MCC Compact.
“The Philippine and US governments are working closely in the development of projects to be implemented under the 2nd Compact,” he said.
Finally, the two leaders discussed climate change, saying they look forward to more fruitful dialogues on this important issue at the 21st Conference of Parties, which will start in Paris later this month.
“As a country highly vulnerable to climate and disaster risks, the Philippines underscores the importance of all countries contributing to the global effort to address the problem of climate change for the benefit of future generations,” President Aquino said.
For his part, President Obama said he appreciates the contribution that President Aquino has made in climate talks over the last year.
“The Philippines has recognized the importance of a global agreement for the future of this country and the world, and we look forward to a successful outcome in Paris,” he said. PND (hdc)