FROM BERLIN: 'CELEBRATE FREEDOM FROM DICTATORSHIP'  

SEPT 22 ---PHOTO: President Aquino receives the Freedom Medal from Friedrich Nauman Foundation chairman Dr. Wolfgang Gerhard during a ceremony held at the Philippine embassy in Berlin, Germany yesterday. “There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves.” Quoting national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, President Aquino called on Filipinos to celebrate freedom from dictatorship as the government strives to make every citizen truly free – first and foremost from hunger and poverty. “In our generation, we have re-articulated this challenge in a battle cry that resonated in our last presidential elections wherein we said, ‘Where there is no corruption, there is no poverty’,” Aquino said at the policy forum organized by Koerber Stiftung and Asia Pacific Committee of German Business here on Friday.

On Sept. 21, 1972, then president Ferdinand Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law. Martial law was announced officially two days later on Sept. 23. “We have gone a long way in the past few decades. In 1986, my mother, Corazon Aquino was catapulted to the presidency through the bloodless EDSA People Power Revolution. Just three years after that, she visited Germany in July of 1989; a few months later, the Berlin Wall fell,” he said. “It was a time when our two countries, both having suffered through dictatorships, could recognize and celebrate the values that we share: freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he said. He said the Berlin Wall symbolized the difference between the western democrats and the eastern communists and the way they thought Germany should be led. It also symbolized the inner conflict of Germany and the division between “free” or democratic, he said. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino to trumpet good news about PH in 5-day US visit  

SEPT 22 --Boston – President Aquino will tell the world of the “good news about the Philippines” during his five-day working visit to the United States through his speeches in top educational institutions and interviews with various international media organizations.

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY — President Aquino arrives at the Logan International Airport on Saturday for his first visit since 1983 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the last place where his family lived together with his father, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated in the Philippines that year. PHOTO: Welcoming him is Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (Malacañang Photo Bureau) Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. said Aquino, who arrived here at 8:33 p.m. on Saturday (US time), will once again trumpet the Philippines’ economic gains under his administration in his hope of attracting more investors especially in the manufacturing sector.

Aquino will deliver messages at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University here in Massachusetts and at Columbia University in New York during his visit, Cuisia said in an interview on Saturday (US time). The JFK forum, he noted, “is a very prestigious forum” which normally invites heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers. “I think he will continue to tell, not just the US but (also) the entire international community, the good news about the Philippines,” Cuisia said in an interview. “He (Aquino) will, as you know, be speaking at the United Nations Global Summit on Climate Change on the 23rd. But he will also have a business roundtable in New York with business leaders from the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-ASEAN Business Council and US-Philippine Society,” he added. MEDIA INTERVIEWS *READ MORE...

ALSO: 'Mission Accomplished, says Aquino; Europe trip generates $2.38-B investments  

SEPT 21 --It’s mission accomplished, said President Aquino yesterday of his trip to Europe, where he bagged $2.38 billion worth of investments as well as clear expressions of support for Manila’s position on the West Philippine Sea issue. Aquino headed to the United States last night, primarily to attend a climate change summit hosted by the United Nations in New York after visiting Madrid, Brussels, Paris and then this city as last stop. The President said the upcoming investments would create at least 55,500 jobs. He said these were only initial figures, as he expressed confidence that his mission here to invite businessmen to invest in the Philippines would bear more fruit. On whether he succeeded in getting support for the country’s position on the West Philippine Sea dispute, Aquino said: “The short answer is yes. But in the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit in 2012 in Vientiane, Laos, when we stood our ground and mentioned our position in this matter, it was the European Union, amongst others...that supported our line of settling matters through peaceful means and in accordance with international law.” He said there’s now “a deeper appreciation of exactly what the issue is and who are involved in this particular issue.”

He added that “it’s not just us and our big brother to the West, not just them and Vietnam, but even countries outside the region.”  France went as far as opposing “occupation” by force of one country by another in a joint statement with the Philippines, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel categorically stated that China must recognize arbitration as a way to settle the dispute. Beijing has rejected the Philippines’ arbitration case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. While expressing belief the Chinese would not attack the Philippines, Aquino said “China will decide based on its own lines.”

He reiterated to European leaders the country’s commitment to uphold the rule of law in coming up with a peaceful solution to disputes in the region. Investments Aquino said he and his officials talked to government leaders and 19 companies and they all praised the economic performance of the country. “From our engagements in Europe alone, we are expecting around $2.38 billion in investments in the sectors of manufacturing, energy, the IT-BPM (information technology-business process management sector), infrastructure, transport,” Aquino said, adding a major manufacturing company is exerting extra effort to be able to set up shop in the Philippines. *READ MORE...

ALSO: German investors seen to create over 50,000 jobs in Phl - Aquino   

SEPT 21 --German investments are expected to create 55,500 jobs in the Philippines, President
Aquino said yesterday. Aquino, who was in Germany on the last leg of his four-nation European trip, also signed a social security agreement with Berlin to benefit Filipinos in Germany as well as Germans in the Philippines. “It will contribute to the equality of treatment and will deliver coverage of social security to each other,” Aquino said. “We are hoping to have 55,500 jobs,” Aquino said, clarifying that these jobs did not include infrastructure. Aquino said German officials were satisfied with the way his administration is managing the Philippine economy. Aquino also cited the European leaders’ voicing their support for the Philippine position on the West Philippine Sea issue, particularly Manila’s adherence to international law in resolving the country’s territorial dispute with China. Aquino is set to visit the United States next, primarily to address the United Nations Climate Change summit in New York. He will also speak at Harvard University in Boston and will return to the country on Sept. 25. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

(ALSO Berlin) Merkel: Better regulation can bring more FDI to Phl 

SEPT 22 --German Chancellor Angela Merkel AP Photo BERLIN – Better business regulation and competitive
laws can bring more foreign direct investment to the Philippines, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said following a bilateral meeting with President Aquino on Friday. Merkel assured Aquino that German companies are ready to invest in Manila. “We see the Philippines undergoing a dynamic growth period that is why we encouraged the President to strengthen his contact with German firms,” she said. Merkel said her meeting with Aquino further increased trade and diplomatic relations between Manila and Germany.

“The Philippines ratified cooperation agreements with the European Union, and I encouraged the President to open up new avenues for mutual trade. In 2013, we were able to get a trade volume of more than $4 billion. Bilaterally, I think this can be increased,” she said. Aquino’s trip to Europe took place ahead of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Germany on Oct. 8. “We were able to underline our shared values and address not only our bilateral relations but international conflicts as well,” Merkel said. Merkel lauded Aquino for initiating reforms to make business in the Philippines easier. The legal dispute between the Philippine government and German firm Fraport AG for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 was also tackled during Aquino’s meeting with Merkel. *READ MORE...

ALSO: In Boston, Aquino walks down memory lane  

SEPT 22 --PHOTO: President Aquino is welcomed by Defense and Armed Forces Attache Capt. Elson Aguilar upon his arrival at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. RYAN LIM/ Malacanang Photo Bureau. SUDBURY, Massachusetts—Dr. Mario Bucal used to tell his late friend Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. that the Filipino opposition leader would one day be the President of the Philippines. Ninoy never made it to Malacañang. He was assassinated as he stepped off a plane on his return in 1983 from three years of self-exile in the United States.

Instead it was Ninoy’s wife, Corazon, and son, Noynoy, who both became leaders of the country. On Saturday night, the son arrived in Boston for a four-day personal and working visit in the United States following a four-nation tour of Europe the past week. He will stop by the Bucal home on Sunday. Needless to say, it was an indescribable feeling for Bucal and his wife, Norma, to host a private lunch for President Aquino at their home in Sudbury, 28 kilometers from Boston. A handful of others had been invited to the lunch, which had been kept under wraps because the President wanted to have a private time with his parents’ dear friends while in exile. They included mostly doctors, which led them to tease Ninoy that he had a personal team of physicians who would attend to him while he recuperated from his heart surgery.

When the Inquirer visited the Bucals’ home on Saturday, there was hardly a clue that a presidential convoy would be pulling up their driveway the next day. The neighborhood was quiet and the soft, cool breeze of autumn gave a languid feel that belied the excitement felt by the household. Nerve-wracking ---“It is exciting and nerve-wracking!” Norma, 73, admitted. Yes, the Secret Service had been there, she said. Mario Bucal, 75, brought out their photographs with the Aquinos when they were in Boston, and included one with Noynoy at Cape Cod. The Bucals had lived in their home since 1962, and they had played host to two Presidents after their terms, Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada, now the Manila mayor, former first lady Amelita Ramos and last year, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
But this is the first time, the couple noted, that a sitting President would be having a meal with them.

The Bucals had put two tables together to accommodate 14 people. They had been set as early as Saturday morning.
Coke already chilled ---Norma brought out her best silverware, candles on yellow ceramic holders (yellow, she said, has always been her favorite color) in lieu of flowers (the President is allergic to pollen), her dainty capiz napkin holders and goblets, even if she wouldn’t be serving any wine (Aquino does not drink alcohol.) The Coke was, however, already chilled, so was the bottled water. The menu was New England cuisine: clam chowder, steak, lobster, spareribs and salmon. Norma would be cooking the steak, spareribs and lobster herself. For dessert, there’s a cake from a Filipino baker, designed like a Philippine flag with “Welcome, Mr. President!” written on it. There would also be baklava, mixed fruits and other sweets.

The Bucals wondered why the quiet son of Ninoy and Cory would want to meet with his parents’ old friends. They had never really formed a bond with him during the Aquino family’s stay in Massachusetts. “He is a quiet guy, maybe because he was the only son. He was usually on his own or he went out with his friends,” Norma said. She recalled that once in a while, Noynoy would make a quick appearance at the Bucal home whenever there were gatherings while Ninoy and Cory were there with their daughters. “He would come and say ‘Hi, hello, Tita (aunt),’ give us a kiss, and then ‘Goodbye,’” Norma laughed. “But you know, whom would he really talk to here? We were all girls and we’re old. At least [his sisters] could communicate with us. Maybe he also felt out of place.” Just like any family
The President was then in his early 20s. Simple and down-to-earth was how Norma remembered Noynoy. *READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy recalls first winter, Martial Law in first Boston visit in 31 years

SEPT 21 --PHOTO: View image on Twitter PhilippineEmbassy DC @philippinesusa President Aquino: Boston visit after 31 years brings back many memories, including his first winter. 4:59 PM - 21 Sep 2014.

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday (PHL time) reminisced on his first winter in Boston and the Martial Law years, during his first visit to the Massachusetts city after 31 years. Aquino was at Boston College, speaking to members of the Filipino community, for the convocation and presentation of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship, the college's Asian-American Scholarship renamed in honor of President Aquino's parents.

In his speech, Aquino recalled that his family's exile to Boston had also provided them a sense of normalcy. He also pointed out that it was the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos. The declaration in September 1972 led to the arrest of Aquino's father, former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. According to GMA News' Jun Veneracion, Aquino was received Aquino cordially by the local Filipinos, who welcomed him back to Boston and welcomed him "home." — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

‘Celebrate freedom from dictatorship’


President Aquino receives the Freedom Medal from Friedrich Nauman Foundation chairman Dr. Wolfgang Gerhard during a ceremony held at the Philippine embassy in Berlin, Germany yesterday.

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 (PHILSTAR) BERLIN – “There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves.”

Quoting national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, President Aquino called on Filipinos to celebrate freedom from dictatorship as the government strives to make every citizen truly free – first and foremost from hunger and poverty.

“In our generation, we have re-articulated this challenge in a battle cry that resonated in our last presidential elections wherein we said, ‘Where there is no corruption, there is no poverty’,” Aquino said at the policy forum organized by Koerber Stiftung and Asia Pacific Committee of German Business here on Friday.

On Sept. 21, 1972, then president Ferdinand Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law. Martial law was announced officially two days later on Sept. 23.

“We have gone a long way in the past few decades. In 1986, my mother, Corazon Aquino was catapulted to the presidency through the bloodless EDSA People Power Revolution. Just three years after that, she visited Germany in July of 1989; a few months later, the Berlin Wall fell,” he said.

“It was a time when our two countries, both having suffered through dictatorships, could recognize and celebrate the values that we share: freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

He said the Berlin Wall symbolized the difference between the western democrats and the eastern communists and the way they thought Germany should be led.

It also symbolized the inner conflict of Germany and the division between “free” or democratic, he said.

* Marcos, who stayed in office for more than 20 years – from 1965 to February 1986 – explained that martial law was intended to suppress civil strife and the threat of communist takeover following a series of bombings in Manila.

“Just one generation removed from my mother’s visit, the Philippine resurgence is now in full swing. The empowerment of the people in 1986, most profoundly manifested then in our newfound freedoms, now finds new meaning in the economic empowerment being engendered in our society,” Aquino said.

“We have recovered from the scourge of the dictatorship and from periods of self-serving leadership, and have fostered a positive shift in the national psyche,” he said. “Optimism among the Filipino people and the international community is very high, opportunities are expanding, and our government continues to move towards progress with the interest of the Filipino people as its North Star,” he noted.

He said his administration has never wavered in its commitment to restore and maintain the principles of transparency and accountability in government.

“From the beginning of my term, we have stayed true to our promise. We have brought the moral imperatives of justice, transparency and accountability back into the equation of governance,” he said.

“We have plugged bureaucratic leakages and strengthened public institutions. A good example of our reform efforts is our overhaul of the Philippine budgeting process. Our administration has adopted what we call the zero-based budgeting, which involves reviewing all government projects, axing the ones that provided little to no benefit to our countrymen, while keeping and even strengthening the ones that had great positive effect,” Aquino said.

“We pursued all those who committed wrongdoing, regardless of their wealth or influence. When evidence of plunder and electoral sabotage were found against my predecessor in the presidency, corresponding charges were filed, and now, she is under hospital arrest, waiting to face due process of our court systems,” he said, referring to former President and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He also cited as proof of his administration’s resolve in fighting corruption the ouster of a chief justice for failing to properly declare his wealth in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth.

“These instances, among others, sent a clear message: The rule of law applies to all,” he said.

Aquino also enumerated the programs and projects of his administration to improve people’s lives, pointing out that funds for social services were significantly increased.

He said the people were the Philippines’ greatest resources, thus the need to provide them with better education, health and other services.

Aquino said their efforts were paying off, judging from the country’s improving economy.

Aquino also noted that Rizal was only 27 years old when he wrote the “Noli Me Tangere” here and had it published on March 21, 1887.

Rizal spent two years in Germany. “Short on funds, he rationed his biscuits for meals; to stave off loneliness, he wrote poems about the flowers of Heidelberg, translated Schiller’s ‘William Tell’ into his native Tagalog, and drew ideas from Berlin’s libraries,” he said.

Aquino said the Noli “offered a candid look at the ills of Filipino society under colonial rule. It shed light on the abuses of the colonizers, and on our people’s collective longing for freedom and dignity.”

“Scholars consider it the first articulation of a Filipino national consciousness. The novel eventually earned the ire of the authorities. After some time in exile, Dr. Rizal would be arrested and martyred by firing squad on the 30th of December, 1896,” Aquino said.

Aquino said Rizal’s ideas, works and, ultimately, his death, sparked a revolution for Philippine independence.

In Manila, Vice President Jejomar Binay asked his fellow martial law activists to keep the fight for freedom alive.

Binay, who was a human rights lawyer during the Marcos regime, said it is important to preserve the rule of law and constitutional order if the country wishes to preserve its liberty.

“For those who struggled against the dictatorship and survived its repressive machinery, our greatest challenge is to keep the fight for freedom alive, especially among the younger generation,” Binay said.

Binay cited in particular the need to preserve the independence of the judiciary.

“Of paramount importance is preserving the rule of law and constitutional order, especially the independence of our judiciary from the intrusion of influence of the executive,” he said.

“We must fight to preserve the ideals of democracy as enshrined in our Constitution from all efforts to weaken the system of checks and balances and fortify the power of one branch over the other co-equal branches, a system that brought about the abuses of martial law,” Binay said. – Aurea Calica, Jose Rodel Clapano

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Aquino to trumpet good news about PH in 5-day US visit by Jc Bello Ruiz September 22, 2014 Share this:


SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY — President Aquino arrives at the Logan International Airport on Saturday for his first visit since 1983 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the last place where his family lived together with his father, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated in the Philippines that year. Welcoming him is Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (Malacañang Photo Bureau)

Boston – President Aquino will tell the world of the “good news about the Philippines” during his five-day working visit to the United States through his speeches in top educational institutions and interviews with various international media organizations.

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY — President Aquino arrives at the Logan International Airport on Saturday for his first visit since 1983 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the last place where his family lived together with his father, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated in the Philippines that year. Welcoming him is Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (Malacañang Photo Bureau) Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. said Aquino, who arrived here at 8:33 p.m. on Saturday (US time), will once again trumpet the Philippines’ economic gains under his administration in his hope of attracting more investors especially in the manufacturing sector.

Aquino will deliver messages at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University here in Massachusetts and at Columbia University in New York during his visit, Cuisia said in an interview on Saturday (US time).

The JFK forum, he noted, “is a very prestigious forum” which normally invites heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers.

“I think he will continue to tell, not just the US but (also) the entire international community, the good news about the Philippines,” Cuisia said in an interview.

“He (Aquino) will, as you know, be speaking at the United Nations Global Summit on Climate Change on the 23rd. But he will also have a business roundtable in New York with business leaders from the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-ASEAN Business Council and US-Philippine Society,” he added.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS

* In New York on Sept. 23, Aquino will also have interviews with the New York Times, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Foreign Affairs magazine, and BBC, according to Cuisia.

The President, he said, can talk about “the consistent growth in the Philippine economy” as well as the reforms that have been undertaken under his administration.

“And, you know, one that he can be very proud of is the good governance mantra that he has been advocating from the start of his administration because that has really engendered tremendous optimism and confidence among international investors,” he said.

APPEAL FOR AID

At the same time Aquino, he said, will continue to appeal for support for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by typhoon “Yolanda (Haiyan).”

“He will also say that we continue to face challenges. You know, the typhoon Yolanda, there’s a lot to be done; there’s also a lot of resources that will be required,” Cuisia said.

Relatedly, the President, he said, will talk about the need for the more developed countries to do much more in terms of bringing down carbon emissions when he delivers his message during the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Summit at the UN Headquarters on Sept. 23 in New York.

Among those accompanying the President to the US are Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and Presidential Management Staff Secretary Julia Abad.

In New York on Sept. (US time), Aquino will also have a business roundtable with business leaders from the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-ASEAN Business Council and US-Philippine Society.

Before going home to Manila on Sept. 24, Aquino will spend several hours in San Francisco, California to meet several more business leaders.

Europe trip generates $2.38-B investments By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 21, 2014 - 12:00am 5 52 googleplus0 0


German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the President of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III., left, address the media a joint press conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. AP/Michael Sohn

BERLIN – It’s mission accomplished, said President Aquino yesterday of his trip to Europe, where he bagged $2.38 billion worth of investments as well as clear expressions of support for Manila’s position on the West Philippine Sea issue.

Aquino headed to the United States last night, primarily to attend a climate change summit hosted by the United Nations in New York after visiting Madrid, Brussels, Paris and then this city as last stop.

The President said the upcoming investments would create at least 55,500 jobs.

He said these were only initial figures, as he expressed confidence that his mission here to invite businessmen to invest in the Philippines would bear more fruit.

On whether he succeeded in getting support for the country’s position on the West Philippine Sea dispute, Aquino said: “The short answer is yes. But in the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit in 2012 in Vientiane, Laos, when we stood our ground and mentioned our position in this matter, it was the European Union, amongst others...that supported our line of settling matters through peaceful means and in accordance with international law.”

He said there’s now “a deeper appreciation of exactly what the issue is and who are involved in this particular issue.”

He added that “it’s not just us and our big brother to the West, not just them and Vietnam, but even countries outside the region.”

France went as far as opposing “occupation” by force of one country by another in a joint statement with the Philippines, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel categorically stated that China must recognize arbitration as a way to settle the dispute.

Beijing has rejected the Philippines’ arbitration case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

While expressing belief the Chinese would not attack the Philippines, Aquino said “China will decide based on its own lines.”

He reiterated to European leaders the country’s commitment to uphold the rule of law in coming up with a peaceful solution to disputes in the region.

Investments

Aquino said he and his officials talked to government leaders and 19 companies and they all praised the economic performance of the country.

“From our engagements in Europe alone, we are expecting around $2.38 billion in investments in the sectors of manufacturing, energy, the IT-BPM (information technology-business process management sector), infrastructure, transport,” Aquino said, adding a major manufacturing company is exerting extra effort to be able to set up shop in the Philippines.

* Of the $2.38-billion total investments, $908 million represented commitments and $1.47 billion was prospective. He did not give further details.

The President said he also managed to raise the issues that could provide more opportunities and markets for the Philippines.

He said he thanked the European Union for lifting the ban on Philippine air carriers. He also said an air services agreement was forged with France.

Aquino noted he also informed the leaders of the country’s efforts to comply with the 1978 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for the Seafarers so the Filipino seamen’s employment would not be affected.

The President said the problem had been there since 2006 but had not been promptly addressed. Under his administration, Aquino said a law was passed authorizing the Maritime Industry Authority to be the single agency in charge of Filipino seafarers’ accreditation.

Aquino added the Department of Budget and Management allocated funds for maritime education and training standards for supervisors. Their job is to professionalize the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping monitoring system.

The other issue dealt with was the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for which the Philippines was given a “yellow card” as form of warning.

“So there was a 16-item checklist of things that we have to comply with. We reported through (Agriculture) Secretary (Proceso) Alcala that 14 of the 16 have already been met,” he said.

“There are two things left: one is the amendment to the Fisheries Code; and the other is manning of the new inspectors. So I think we managed to convey that we are striving really hard to comply with all of these requirements so that our fishing industry and the people benefiting from the fishing industry will not suffer a ban on exports from the Philippines to the EU,” he said.

Aquino said a memorandum of understanding between the Development Academy of the Philippines and one of France’s most prominent schools for public service would also open up several areas for academic exchange and collaboration.

He said this would obviously help public servants gain more expertise, efficiency and professionalism.

“We also had agreement between the Philippines and Germany for what we call the social security agreement, which entitles Filipinos in Germany and their dependents to the social security benefits of German nationals and vice versa, German nationals in the Philippines to be entitled to benefits,” he said.

“We recognize and synchronize each other’s SSS (Social Security System) coverage. It will contribute to equality of treatment and eliminate dual coverage,” Aquino said.

On the Philippines’ bid for the lifting of duties on Philippine export products, Aquino said he welcomed the fact that it was mentioned to him several times that the country must enter into more free trade agreements.

“I think you are a witness to one of them asking me. So there seems to be a push for the Philippines to really accelerate the passage of the free trade agreements. And they were saying that others were ahead of us,” Aquino said.

“Now, I explained basically that perhaps, it goes hand in hand. Before there was not much interest in us, now when we entered government, the interest kept on increasing,” the President said.

He said government negotiators had been increased to 30 now from less than 20 to ensure the country’s interests would be protected.

“We are getting experts that can really tackle the negotiations on a point-by-point basis and the main reason that we hired more and we are hiring more is because there is a need to negotiate all of these FTAs, preferably simultaneously instead of sequentially,” Aquino said.

German investors seen to create over 50,000 jobs in Phl By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 21, 2014 - 12:00am 8 55 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - German investments are expected to create 55,500 jobs in the Philippines, President Aquino said yesterday.

Aquino, who was in Germany on the last leg of his four-nation European trip, also signed a social security agreement with Berlin to benefit Filipinos in Germany as well as Germans in the Philippines.

“It will contribute to the equality of treatment and will deliver coverage of social security to each other,” Aquino said.

“We are hoping to have 55,500 jobs,” Aquino said, clarifying that these jobs did not include infrastructure.

Aquino said German officials were satisfied with the way his administration is managing the Philippine economy.

Aquino also cited the European leaders’ voicing their support for the Philippine position on the West Philippine Sea issue, particularly Manila’s adherence to international law in resolving the country’s territorial dispute with China.

Aquino is set to visit the United States next, primarily to address the United Nations Climate Change summit in New York. He will also speak at Harvard University in Boston and will return to the country on Sept. 25.

Merkel: Better regulation can bring more FDI to Phl By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 22, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


German Chancellor Angela Merkel AP Photo

BERLIN – Better business regulation and competitive laws can bring more foreign direct investment to the Philippines, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said following a bilateral meeting with President Aquino on Friday.

Merkel assured Aquino that German companies are ready to invest in Manila.

“We see the Philippines undergoing a dynamic growth period that is why we encouraged the President to strengthen his contact with German firms,” she said.

Merkel said her meeting with Aquino further increased trade and diplomatic relations between Manila and Germany.

“The Philippines ratified cooperation agreements with the European Union, and I encouraged the President to open up new avenues for mutual trade. In 2013, we were able to get a trade volume of more than $4 billion. Bilaterally, I think this can be increased,” she said.

Aquino’s trip to Europe took place ahead of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Germany on Oct. 8.

“We were able to underline our shared values and address not only our bilateral relations but international conflicts as well,” Merkel said.

Merkel lauded Aquino for initiating reforms to make business in the Philippines easier.

The legal dispute between the Philippine government and German firm Fraport AG for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 was also tackled during Aquino’s meeting with Merkel.

* The President said the Philippines would abide by whatever ruling would be issued by the courts on the case.

Aquino has assured European investors reforms have made doing business in the Philippines easier, and that no one is “untouchable” in the fight against corruption.

He said that from cutting bureaucratic red tape to sending a former president to jail to ousting an ombudsman and a chief justice, breakthroughs achieved in the fight against corruption have ensured transparency and a level playing field for investors.

Aquino said German officials were satisfied with the way his administration is managing the Philippine economy.

FROM THE INQUIRER

In Boston, Aquino walks down memory lane  By Nikko Dizon |Philippine Daily Inquirer4:10 am | Monday, September 22nd, 2014


President Aquino is welcomed by Defense and Armed Forces Attache Capt. Elson Aguilar upon his arrival at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. RYAN LIM/ Malacanang Photo Bureau

Dr. Mario Bucal used to tell his late friend Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. that the Filipino opposition leader would one day be the President of the Philippines.

Ninoy never made it to Malacañang. He was assassinated as he stepped off a plane on his return in 1983 from three years of self-exile in the United States.

Instead it was Ninoy’s wife, Corazon, and son, Noynoy, who both became leaders of the country.

On Saturday night, the son arrived in Boston for a four-day personal and working visit in the United States following a four-nation tour of Europe the past week. He will stop by the Bucal home on Sunday.

Needless to say, it was an indescribable feeling for Bucal and his wife, Norma, to host a private lunch for President Aquino at their home in Sudbury, 28 kilometers from Boston.


PHOTO COURTESY OF GMA NEWS: Counter clockwise from top left: Dr. Mario Bucal, close family friend of the Aquinos shares his personal account on Ninoy Aquino; Here Lies Love co-stars Jaygee Macapugay and Conrad Ricamora, perform “Seven Years” duet from the hit musical; Conrad Ricamora, actor who portrays Ninoy Aquino delivers the speech where he uttered the line “Is the Filipino worth dying for?”,“1983” documentary reveals personal life of Ninoy Aquino in Boston. (Photos by Dondee Santos) - See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/international/articles/2014-03-07/271/EDSA-Celebration-in-New-York-Highlights-the-Life-of-Ninoy-Aquino-in-the-US#sthash.OmiL1uS1.dpuf

A handful of others had been invited to the lunch, which had been kept under wraps because the President wanted to have a private time with his parents’ dear friends while in exile. They included mostly doctors, which led them to tease Ninoy that he had a personal team of physicians who would attend to him while he recuperated from his heart surgery.

When the Inquirer visited the Bucals’ home on Saturday, there was hardly a clue that a presidential convoy would be pulling up their driveway the next day. The neighborhood was quiet and the soft, cool breeze of autumn gave a languid feel that belied the excitement felt by the household.

Nerve-wracking

“It is exciting and nerve-wracking!” Norma, 73, admitted. Yes, the Secret Service had been there, she said.

Mario Bucal, 75, brought out their photographs with the Aquinos when they were in Boston, and included one with Noynoy at Cape Cod.

The Bucals had lived in their home since 1962, and they had played host to two Presidents after their terms, Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada, now the Manila mayor, former first lady Amelita Ramos and last year, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

But this is the first time, the couple noted, that a sitting President would be having a meal with them.

The Bucals had put two tables together to accommodate 14 people. They had been set as early as Saturday morning.
Coke already chilled

Norma brought out her best silverware, candles on yellow ceramic holders (yellow, she said, has always been her favorite color) in lieu of flowers (the President is allergic to pollen), her dainty capiz napkin holders and goblets, even if she wouldn’t be serving any wine (Aquino does not drink alcohol.)

The Coke was, however, already chilled, so was the bottled water. The menu was New England cuisine: clam chowder, steak, lobster, spareribs and salmon. Norma would be cooking the steak, spareribs and lobster herself.

For dessert, there’s a cake from a Filipino baker, designed like a Philippine flag with “Welcome, Mr. President!” written on it. There would also be baklava, mixed fruits and other sweets.

The Bucals wondered why the quiet son of Ninoy and Cory would want to meet with his parents’ old friends. They had never really formed a bond with him during the Aquino family’s stay in Massachusetts.

“He is a quiet guy, maybe because he was the only son. He was usually on his own or he went out with his friends,” Norma said."

She recalled that once in a while, Noynoy would make a quick appearance at the Bucal home whenever there were gatherings while Ninoy and Cory were there with their daughters.

“He would come and say ‘Hi, hello, Tita (aunt),’ give us a kiss, and then ‘Goodbye,’” Norma laughed. “But you know, whom would he really talk to here? We were all girls and we’re old. At least [his sisters] could communicate with us.

Maybe he also felt out of place.”

Just like any family

The President was then in his early 20s. Simple and down-to-earth was how Norma remembered Noynoy.

* Patty Yusah hardly recalled seeing the President in the Aquino home whenever they went there to play mah-jongg with Ninoy and Cory or have dinner and watch the mini-series “The Thorn Birds” starring Richard Chamberlain.

But her husband, Dr. Winnie Yusah, said he did see Noynoy at times. The Yusah couple were among the other couples invited to the private lunch at the Bucal home with the President.

“Noynoy was a quiet boy. And you know, his father was very gregarious,” Patty said.

Norma thinks that maybe even if the President never really mingled with them at that time, he was aware of this group of friends’ closeness to his parents. He may have quietly observed the joy that his parents felt with this set of friends who brought them to another world away from the harshness of martial law.

Opposition figures streamed in and out of the Aquino home in Boston. But with the Bucals, the Yusahs and their other friends, the Aquinos were just like any other family. They spent weekends at Cape Cod, played mah-jongg, had dinners.

“We never really talked about politics, except for our husbands, who once in a while talked about it with Ninoy,” Norma said.

Norma wondered what they would be talking about with Aquino in the two and a half hours he had asked to spend with them and their families. She surmised that it might be President Aquino who would be interviewing them.

Meeting with Kennedy

“I think he will walk through memory lane as he looks back to the days that he spent here in Boston,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. told reporters on Saturday.

The President will also visit his family’s former house, a two-story red brick, in Newton, 15 km outside Boston, now owned by a retired American schoolteacher. He is scheduled to meet with Rep. Joseph Kennedy III at Bill’s Pizzeria, a favorite of the young Aquino.

Aquino has also asked if his favorite Chinese restaurant is still open. It is.

The President and his entourage spent Saturday night in Boston without any official activities.

Aquino’s Boston visit will officially begin on Sunday with the private lunch, the visit to his old home and a 3 p.m. Mass at Boston College. He will give a speech at a reception with the Filipino-American community from Boston and New York.

He will also meet with the recipients of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship at Boston College.

In his speeches at Boston College, the JFK Forum at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Columbia University in New York City, the President is expected to talk about the Philippines’ call for adherence to the rule of law in resolving the territorial dispute with China, as well as the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a cornerstone of his administration.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

PNoy recalls first winter, Martial Law in first Boston visit in 31 years September 22, 2014 6:12am 49 24 0 93 Tags: Benigno Aquino III


View image on Twitter PhilippineEmbassy DC @philippinesusa President Aquino: Boston visit after 31 years brings back many memories, including his first winter. 4:59 PM - 21 Sep 2014

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday (PHL time) reminisced on his first winter in Boston and the Martial Law years, during his first visit to the Massachusetts city after 31 years.

Aquino was at Boston College, speaking to members of the Filipino community, for the convocation and presentation of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship, the college's Asian-American Scholarship renamed in honor of President Aquino's parents.

In his speech, Aquino recalled that his family's exile to Boston had also provided them a sense of normalcy.

He also pointed out that it was the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos. The declaration in September 1972 led to the arrest of Aquino's father, former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

According to GMA News' Jun Veneracion, Aquino was received Aquino cordially by the local Filipinos, who welcomed him back to Boston and welcomed him "home." — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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