MALACANANG, November 1, 2003  (OPS) CAGAYAN DE ORO City—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today inaugurated the P124-million wharf extension at the Port of Cagayan de Oro that would provide faster handling and transport of goods between Mindanao and other ports in the Visayas and Luzon.

This means that beginning the first quarter of 2004, shippers and stakeholders in the cargo industry will start reaping the fruits of the modernization and completion of the P2-billion Mindanao Container Port Terminal (MCPT) and the Port of Cagayan de Oro, the President said.

She said this also means that once the MCPT and the Port of Cagayan de Oro are fully operational, they should generate investments from other countries and employment opportunities for the residents of Misamis Oriental and neighboring provinces.

Shortly after her arrival at Lumbia Airport here at around 9:30 a.m., the President delivered a speech in the closing ceremony of the 12th Mindanao Business Conference (MINBIZCON) held at PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate located inside the MCPT Complex in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The conference was attended by some 800 delegates including members of the diplomatic corps and businessmen from Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao and also from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, United States, Brunei Darussalam, Canada and Australia.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Alfonso Cusi and Port of Cagayan de Oro Manager Prudencio Mercado assisted the President in the unveiling of the marker of the port extension. She later inspected the newly-completed 150-meters reinforced concrete wharf extension.

After the inauguration, the President fielded questions from the Cagayan de Oro reporters in a press conference held at the Port Management Office (PMO) conference room. Earlier she had lunch with local executive officers of the province and Philippine Ports Authority officials.

The President left Lumbia Airport around 1:30 p.m. for Manila to end her three-day working trip in the Southeastern and Northern Mindanao.

GMA commends Mindanao businessmen for support in peace process

CAGAYAN DE ORO City—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today commended the business community in Mindanao for their active support for her administration, especially for their keen interest in the pursuit of the preace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

The President issued the remarks during the prss conference held at the conference room of the Port Management Office (PMO) here right after she inaugurated the P124-million wharf extension of the Port of Cagayan de oro this morning.

"I’d like to take this opportunity to commend the business community for their interest in the peace process because that means that they are also looking for peace and that they recognize that peace is important in the progress and development in our country," the President said.

The President said she is very grateful the Mindanao Business Council has been very active in supporting her administration, particularly in the resumption of the peace process and all her projects for Mindanao.

During the press conference, the President said that she will confer with presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles on the details of an increased role of the private sector in a realization of a just, fair, and lasting peace agreement with the MILF.

Earlier, Misamis Oriental Governor Antonio Calingin, in his welcome remarks during the closing ceremony of the 12th Mindanao Business Conference, announced his full support for the Chief Executive.

Governor Calingin assured the President that he will help her administration in fulfilling all of her dreams and projects for Mindanao residents and even her candidacy in the 2004 presidential election.

"whatever my detractors have been saying against you, let me assure you that I would bring the people, my constituents in the province of Misamis Oriental to support you in the coming election," Calingin said in his speech.

He also added that because of the President’s sincere efforts of making Mindanao a land of promise, the region has regained momentum and now called a land of reality."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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