BULLETIN EDITORIALS: BUSH VISIT,  A NEW MILESTONE; WELCOME, MR. PRESIDENT!

MANILA, OCTOBER 18, 2003  (BULLETIN EDITORIAL) A NEW milestone in a century of close partnership and enduring friendship, a gesture of reciprocity, a visit that firms up the bilateral commitment to work hand-in-hand to combat poverty and terrorism – these and many more make up the visit today of His Excellency, President George W. Bush of the United States of America.

Together with a delegation of economic and military officials, the eight-hour visit of the United States President will provide an occasion for the leader of the global campaign against terror to personally convey his country’s policy on its relations with the Philippines and the regional/global pursuit of security and development when he delivers his address to a joint session of the Philippine Congress.

From Congress, President Bush will make full use of what has been described as the longest working hours he will accumulate in all the countries to be visited in Asia to a meeting with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. They will renew their commitment to the struggle against terrorism and poverty, two issues that these leaders have recognized are closely linked with each other. The discussion is also expected to produce concrete agreements on economic and military support, the former through bilateral trade agreements, the latter through technical and equipment assistance granted as a result of the Philippines’ designation as a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) US ally in this region.

After the formal meetings, President Bush and the American delegation will be treated to a State Dinner with a Barrio Fiesta. The Philippines and the United States had earlier signed a memorandum to strengthen cooperation between the two countries’ law enforcement agencies.

We welcome His Excellency, President George W. Bush, and First Lady Mrs. Laura W. Bush and Delegation to the Philippines and wish them a successful and enjoyable stay in the country.

Mabuhay!

Welcome, Mr. President! Hern P. Zenarosa (BULLETIN EDITORIAL) October 18, 2003

WHEN President George W. Bush sets foot on Philippine soil today he will find a people eagerly welcoming him.

During his 8-hour stay they will wine and dine him, so to speak, in the tradition of our fondness for our visitors.

That’s a Filipino trait and it does not matter whether you are the President of the most powerful nation on earth or are entertainment personalities from Taiwan – Filipinos always lavishly demonstrate their warmth as a people with almost fawning attitude towards their foreign guests.

It is at times shameful but that is a part of us.

For sure there will be the ubiquitous demonstrators, noisy and defiant and inhospitable, but this time they will be somewhere else away from the visitors’ sight: the Philippine National Police will see to that.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has said “We are ready to give him a rousing welcome deserving of a friend and ally of the Philippines.”

President Bush may really have a special regard for the Philippines.

During his campaign for the presidency, he favorably mentioned the Philippines twice or thrice in his proposed policy on Asian affairs.

Al Gore did not.

This was revealed by Steven A. Lotterer, a visiting American political expert, during a luncheon meeting hosted by the American Embassy with a small group of Filipino columnists at the Ilustrado in Intramuros the other year.

Lotterer then predicted that should Bush win the election, he would probably make effort to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

The first sign that Steven Lotterer might be correct in his observation was when President Bush went out of his way to congratulate President Arroyo upon her assumption to the presidency in the aftermath of Edsa II, making the United States the first major country to recognize the Arroyo government.

All the rest that followed, including her very colorful state visit to the US, showed a renewed and revitalized relationship between the Philippines and the United States.

Now, I am not sure if Ambassador Francis Ricciardone has briefed President Bush on this trivia, but just the same, I am reproducing here an e-mail I received from Mr. Joe Seguerra of Calauag, Quezon citing things in common with the two Presidents:

1. Both were sworn in as President on the same day, January 20, 2001;

2. Both assumed office with the intervention of their respective Supreme Court;

3. Both their first names start with the letter “G”;

4. Both their first names have six letters;

5. Both their fathers are former Presidents;

6. Both have MBA degrees;

7. Both their predecessors underwent impeachment trials;

8. Both their predecessors were known womanizers.

(hernzen@compass.com.ph)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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