CHINA TRAVEL WARNING HITS PH TOURISM INDUSTRY; TENS OF THOUSANDS TOURISTS HAVE CANCELLED   

SEPT 23 --PHOTO: Boracay. DON LEJANO/INQUIRER.net — Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists have cancelled trips to the Philippines after a travel warning by Beijing, inflicting major pain on hotels, airlines and tour operators, industry figures said Tuesday.
China warned its citizens this month to avoid visiting the Philippines, citing a foiled bomb plot against the Chinese embassy in Manila and the danger of criminal gangs. The alert had an immediate impact on the Philippines’ most famous destination, Boracay island, with nearly 20,000 Chinese tourists cancelling bookings within five days, regional tourism director Helen Catablas said.

“This is serious. The hotels were counting on income from these reservations. It’s like money disappeared,” Catablas told AFP, adding the cancelled bookings led to about P500 million ($11 million) in losses. The country’s biggest budget carrier, Cebu Pacific, said it had cancelled 149 flights to and from China for the rest of the year because of the sudden drop-off in demand. Regional carrier AirAsia also said it had indefinitely suspended its twice-weekly flights between Kalibo airport, one of the main gateways to Boracay, and the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai.
On Boracay, famed for its powdery white sand and calm blue waters, the biggest ferry and bus shuttle service said it had lost a third of its average 150 passengers daily.

“We are very far from Manila, but we are the ones getting hit. The government must address China’s security concerns and assure them there’s no problem,” said Bonnie Javelona, operations manager at Southwest Bus Tours.
Before the travel warning, China was the Philippines’ third-biggest market for tourists after South Korea and the United States. Chinese tourist arrivals in the first half rose 13.6 percent to 226,163, according to government data.
Many foreign governments warn their nationals to avoid large parts of the southern Philippines due to the threats of kidnapping. But no other government has issued a travel warning for the entire country. China’s warning has been interpreted by some politicians and tourism officials in the Philippines as an attempt to exert economic pressure over a long-running territorial dispute in the South China Sea. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: 75% of Netizens favor Aquino term extension - Informal Online survey

SEPT 23 --Most netizens surveyed by INQUIRER.net favor a second term for President Benigno Aquino III. “Do you think President Aquino should seek a second term?” was the question asked in the informal survey. From the 72,590 votes gathered as of Tuesday morning, a total of 54,527 votes or 75.12 percent wanted Aquino to seek a second term, while 17,422 or 24 percent believed the President must step down from office after his term ends in 2016. Only 0.88 percent or 641 readers answered “Maybe” Aquino could seek a second term. Calls for Aquino’s re-election or term extension first surfaced online with netizens posting “One More Term” photos on Aquino’s official Facebook page. Malacañang has not given a categorical answer about the term extension issue, saying only that Aquino would listen to what the people want.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT. 

ALSO: Blue ribbon defers anew Malampaya Fund scam hearing  

SEPT 23 --PHOTO: Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III. Malacañang has not given a categorical answer about the term extension issue, saying only that Aquino would listen to what the people want. Blue ribbon defers anew Malampaya Fund scam hearing. The planned resumption of the Senate blue ribbon com-mittee on its investigation on the alleged involvement of Janet Lim Napoles’ group in siphoning off Malampaya funds on Thursday has been put off due to the una-vailability of officials from the Commission on Audit (CoA).

Committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III yesterday dismissed assumptions that the
postponement was actually to give way to the ongoing investigation of his sub-committee on the Makati City hall parking building allegedly involving Vice President Jejomar Binay. “It’s not because I have an agreement with (the sub-committee chair Sen. Aquilino) Koko (Pimentel III) but because No. 1, (CoA chair Maria) Gracia Pulido-Tan is on leave. She’s out of the country and she wrote me a letter (regarding her absence) and No. 2, Susan Garcia, the head of the special audit team that conducted the audit of the Malampaya funds is also out of the country. “So I have the chairman and the head of the special team of CoA not available so that’s why I chose to postpone it for the meantime. I plan to announce it actually on Monday,” Guingona told dzBB radio in an interview. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Noy to UN: Time to act on climate change  

SEPT 25 --PHOTO: President Aquino delivers a speech during the United Nations Climate Change Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York. NEW YORK – President Aquino called on world leaders here Tuesday to start working on ways to help lessen the impact of climate change by reducing carbon emissions, saying developed countries only make developing nations more vulnerable to disasters. “Everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbors to engage in action. Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended, thereby increasing the problem we all face,” he warned.

Speaking before the United Nations Climate Change Summit Plenary 2014 at the UN headquarters here, Aquino likewise urged his fellow leaders to stop debating on whether climate change is real or not, since “there is no doubt that it exists, which is the reason we are all here.” “Excellencies, the time of debate is over. It would be wrong, however, to engage in another protracted debate over the individual commitments of countries. To my mind that would be adopting the wrong framework,” he said. Together countries should face these challenges and surmount them, or “together we will suffer the consequences of inaction,” Aquino said. He said climate change does not recognize national boundaries, or political or economic affiliations.

Small countries like the Philippines are in fact put in a very disadvantageous position as compared to highly industrialized nations whose carbon emissions are much, much more because it suffers from destructive typhoons like the world’s worst – Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda) in November 2013. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change. Being less industrialized, we are not a major emitter,” he said. The Philippine government has taken steps as early as 2008 by passing the Renewable Energy Act and has undertaken a massive national re-greening program on top of an intensified anti-illegal logging campaign, among many others. “We have never lacked the resolve, for example, as regards transitioning towards less traditional sources of energy. What we lack is the access to technology, financing and investment that would allow us to accelerate our strategy,” Aquino added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy’s turn to receive bashing in NY forum  

SEPT 25 --US-based Filipino protesters de-manding explanation from President Aquino over the spate of extrajudicial killings, misuse of Yolanda funds, and the presence of US troops in the Philippines disrupted Aquino’s speech midway yesterday at the Columbia University World Leaders Forum in New York City. Three activists from the United States wing of Anakbayan shouted “No justice, no peace. Stop the killings in the Philippines” just when Aquino was giving his speech before academics and officials at the Columbia University.

Aquino did not respond to the disruption and instead continued to answer questions during the forum. The protesters were later escorted out of the hall where the forum is being held and rejoined their group holding a rally within the premises of the university. Anakbayan USA national chairman Yves Nibungco acknowledged that the three protesters belonged to their group and were not students of Columbia University but withheld their names based on the advice of the group’s legal counsel. “The Aquino government continues to murder the Filipino people by sending its military to kill and hunt down community activists,” he said. “Fifty million dollars of our tax in the US is being sent to fund the murderous and notorious Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.

The US bureau of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) recounted that around 35 protesters hounded Aquino with protests in his speaking engagement at Columbia University. “Aquino was visibly caught off guard as young Filipino-Americans with Anakbayan New Jersey, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), and Gabriela New York challenged him from the audience during a forum held inside Columbia’s Low Memorial Library with questions on the pork barrel scandal, Typhoon Haiyan, and human rights abuses treated with impunity.

The rally was held in the main courtyard of the university with Bayan USA raising the issue of the dominance of US interests over Philippine economic and political spheres “stunting Philippine economic growth and deepening poverty in the country.” At the forum, the questions and comments were raised on lack of adequate relief for typhoon Yolanda victims with some not receiving any relief at all, after 10 months since the disaster struck. “Public funds for disaster relief and preparedness were slashed but the pork barrel system still continues, especially with the President’s defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP),” Jenab-i Pareja of NYCHRP said.

A streamer stating “Oust Aquino, Pork Barrel King” was unfurled near the stage where Aquino was giving his speech.
The young activists inside the library also raised the issue of human rights abuses with a banner reading “End Impunity. Stop the Killings”. “I have been to Hacienda Luisita. I have seen first hand the continuing plight of the farmworkers, the families of the laborers of those who were massacred for wanting to earn more than 9 pesos a day. It’s unbelievable to me that this can happen on the piece of property owned by the President’s family,” Joelle Lingat of Anakbayan New Jersey said. Bayan USA said the group was escorted out by New York City police. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino didn’t snub Filipinos in California—Palace 

SEPT 28 --PHOTO: President Benigno Aquino III talks to reporters during an interview in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. AP. MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday denied accusations that President Benigno Aquino III deliberately snubbed a Filipino community in California during his trip to the United States last week. “LA (Los Angeles) was not in the itinerary from the start,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told INQUIRER.net.
Coloma was reacting to media reports that the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles was upset that Aquino did not take time to visit them despite dropping by a gun shop and a hamburger restaurant in San Francisco, also in California. He said Aquino spent most of his short time in San Francisco meeting with business leaders.
“During the short period of time his plane was in San Francisco, the President met with leaders of two multinational companies on entertainment and banking who expressed interest in investing or expanding their current participation in the robust economy of our country,” Coloma explained. *READ MORE...


ALSO: Aquino gains investments, diplomatic support from 12-day foreign trip

SEPT 26 --President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday evening proudly shared the fruits of his 12-day
trip to Europe and the United States, which ranged from investment prospects to pledges of diplomatic support. Arriving past 10 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the President gave his arrival speech in front of fellow government officials and media.
Aquino said his visits to Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and the US resulted in 94 engagements attended and important meetings with leaders of the said countries and big businesses. Maritime dispute --While he did not mention China, he said all the leaders he met expressed support for the country’s decision to pursue arbitration before the United Nations.

“Nabigyan po tayo ng pagkakataong ipaliwanag ang ating posisyon ukol sa West Philippine Sea; malinaw nga po sa ating pagharap sa iba’t ibang pinuno, pati na rin sa mga think tank, na nauunawaan nila ang katuwiran ng ating paninindigan,” he said. “Ikinalulugod nga po natin ang pagpapahayag ng suporta ng mga pinunong ating nakausap.”
(We were given the opportunity to explain our position pertaining to the West Philippine Sea; it was clear that the leaders and think thanks we met understood the basis of our position. We are glad at the pledges of support made by the heads of state that we met.) While Aquino was in Europe, Chinese state media issued commentaries on the situation of Chinese nationals in the Philippines, some of whom were victims of crime. One opinion piece also said that Aquino was mistaken in bringing forth the maritime dispute to European leaders. More local jobs ---
He also boasted the $2.35 billion worth of investments pledged by foreign companies, which he said would create 33,850 jobs in the country.

“Nagkakaisa sila sa kanilang tiwala sa gumaganda nating ekonomiya at sistemang panlipunan. Alam nila ang bunga ng ating mga reporma; at umaasa sila sa patuloy nating pag-angat,” (All of them have trust in the improving economy and social system of the country. They know the fruits of our reforms and they are hoping that we will continue to rise.) Aquino declined to detail the agreements but he said Coca-Cola reported that it had already complied with its promise to invest additional $1 billion before 2015. He said he also tried to convince Volkswagen to construct its global manufacturing hub in the Philippines. “Malaking bentahe ang lumalaki nating middle class, pati na rin ang maganda nating lokasyon at ang husay ng ating manggagawa, at ipagpapatuloy po natin ang pang-eengganyo sa kanila,” he said. (A large advantage is our ballooning middle class, as well as the good location and quality of our skilled workers. We will continue to encourage them.) *READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

China travel warning hits PH tourism industry


Boracay. DON LEJANO/INQUIRER.net

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 (INQUIRER) Agence France — Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists have cancelled trips to the Philippines after a travel warning by Beijing, inflicting major pain on hotels, airlines and tour operators, industry figures said Tuesday.

China warned its citizens this month to avoid visiting the Philippines, citing a foiled bomb plot against the Chinese embassy in Manila and the danger of criminal gangs.

The alert had an immediate impact on the Philippines’ most famous destination, Boracay island, with nearly 20,000 Chinese tourists cancelling bookings within five days, regional tourism director Helen Catablas said.

“This is serious. The hotels were counting on income from these reservations. It’s like money disappeared,” Catablas told AFP, adding the cancelled bookings led to about P500 million ($11 million) in losses.

The country’s biggest budget carrier, Cebu Pacific, said it had cancelled 149 flights to and from China for the rest of the year because of the sudden drop-off in demand.

Regional carrier AirAsia also said it had indefinitely suspended its twice-weekly flights between Kalibo airport, one of the main gateways to Boracay, and the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai.

On Boracay, famed for its powdery white sand and calm blue waters, the biggest ferry and bus shuttle service said it had lost a third of its average 150 passengers daily.

“We are very far from Manila, but we are the ones getting hit. The government must address China’s security concerns and assure them there’s no problem,” said Bonnie Javelona, operations manager at Southwest Bus Tours.

Before the travel warning, China was the Philippines’ third-biggest market for tourists after South Korea and the United States.

Chinese tourist arrivals in the first half rose 13.6 percent to 226,163, according to government data.

Many foreign governments warn their nationals to avoid large parts of the southern Philippines due to the threats of kidnapping.

But no other government has issued a travel warning for the entire country.

China’s warning has been interpreted by some politicians and tourism officials in the Philippines as an attempt to exert economic pressure over a long-running territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

Online Poll: 75% of Netizens favor Aquino term extension By Nestor Corrales |INQUIRER.net1:00 pm | Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


ONLINE POLL_aquino

MANILA, Philippines—Most netizens surveyed by INQUIRER.net favor a second term for President Benigno Aquino III.

“Do you think President Aquino should seek a second term?” was the question asked in the informal survey.

From the 72,590 votes gathered as of Tuesday morning, a total of 54,527 votes or 75.12 percent wanted Aquino to seek a second term, while 17,422 or 24 percent believed the President must step down from office after his term ends in 2016.
Only 0.88 percent or 641 readers answered “Maybe” Aquino could seek a second term.

Calls for Aquino’s re-election or term extension first surfaced online with netizens posting “One More Term” photos on Aquino’s official Facebook page.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Blue ribbon defers anew Malampaya Fund scam hearing Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 22 September 2014 00:00


Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III

Malacañang has not given a categorical answer about the term extension issue, saying only that Aquino would listen to what the people want.

Blue ribbon defers anew Malampaya Fund scam hearing Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 22 September 2014 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print Be the first to comment!

The planned resumption of the Senate blue ribbon com-mittee on its investigation on the alleged involvement of Janet Lim Napoles’ group in siphoning off Malampaya funds on Thursday has been put off due to the una-vailability of officials from the Commission on Audit (CoA).

Committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III yesterday dismissed assumptions that the postponement was actually to give way to the ongoing investigation of his sub-committee on the Makati City hall parking building allegedly involving Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“It’s not because I have an agreement with (the sub-committee chair Sen. Aquilino) Koko (Pimentel III) but because No. 1, (CoA chair Maria) Gracia Pulido-Tan is on leave. She’s out of the country and she wrote me a letter (regarding her absence) and No. 2, Susan Garcia, the head of the special audit team that conducted the audit of the Malampaya funds is also out of the country.

“So I have the chairman and the head of the special team of CoA not available so that’s why I chose to postpone it for the meantime. I plan to announce it actually on Monday,” Guingona told dzBB radio in an interview.

*Although there had been some personalities who are being dragged into the issue and had been subject of investigation by his committee in the past, when the matter was mentioned in the course of the probe on the pork barrel scam such as Napoles and Ruby Tuason, Guingona said he opted to call on them only after the CoA officials have testified before his panel.

“Whenever I start a hearing, we have a special government report. It’s best to start with that because it’s an official government report. In this case, the official government report is the CoA report,” he said.

Asked as to when he intends to re-schedule the much-awaited proceedings, Guingona was non-committal, saying the committee will be dependent on the availability of the concerned CoA officials.

The matter of the postponement of the proceedings did not sit well with one of the proponents of the move to investigate the alleged Malampaya fund scam.

Opposition Sen. JV Ejercito said it cannot be helped but have the impression that the Senate inquiry implicating the Vice President is taking precedence over the Malampaya fund scam, which is an even bigger issue as it concerns billions of misappropriated government royalties from the natural gas projects that supposedly ended up in the pockets of some private individuals.
“It was just my observation that if their allies are going to be hit, the hearings are being delayed. But if it’s their opponent and not partymates, even if there’s a typhoon, the hearings proceed. I just hope that they would be fair,” he said in another interview with dzBB.

Ejercito noted the need to undertake the probe on Malampaya as the issue is similarly situated as that in the pork barrel scam where a number of legislators were being implicated in the alleged misuse of funds.

But the neophyte senator would not dare name names, saying the matter should be pursued in the course of the investigation and the blue ribbon must prove to be impartial in the handling of the issue.

Ejercito reminded colleagues on a recent published survey showing that the proceedings on the pork barrel scam gave the public the impression that Senate investigators were unfair in their inquiry specially as it was focused mainly on three of their colleagues.

“So now the hearing on Thursday will not take place because of CoA officials but the issue on Binay will proceed,” he lamented.

FROM PHILSTAR

Noy to UN: Time to act on climate change By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 25, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


President Aquino delivers a speech during the United Nations Climate Change Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York.
N

EW YORK – President Aquino called on world leaders here Tuesday to start working on ways to help lessen the impact of climate change by reducing carbon emissions, saying developed countries only make developing nations more vulnerable to disasters.

“Everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbors to engage in action. Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended, thereby increasing the problem we all face,” he warned.

Speaking before the United Nations Climate Change Summit Plenary 2014 at the UN headquarters here, Aquino likewise urged his fellow leaders to stop debating on whether climate change is real or not, since “there is no doubt that it exists, which is the reason we are all here.”

“Excellencies, the time of debate is over. It would be wrong, however, to engage in another protracted debate over the individual commitments of countries. To my mind that would be adopting the wrong framework,” he said.

Together countries should face these challenges and surmount them, or “together we will suffer the consequences of inaction,” Aquino said.

He said climate change does not recognize national boundaries, or political or economic affiliations.

Small countries like the Philippines are in fact put in a very disadvantageous position as compared to highly industrialized nations whose carbon emissions are much, much more because it suffers from destructive typhoons like the world’s worst – Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda) in November 2013.

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change. Being less industrialized, we are not a major emitter,” he said.

The Philippine government has taken steps as early as 2008 by passing the Renewable Energy Act and has undertaken a massive national re-greening program on top of an intensified anti-illegal logging campaign, among many others.

“We have never lacked the resolve, for example, as regards transitioning towards less traditional sources of energy. What we lack is the access to technology, financing and investment that would allow us to accelerate our strategy,” Aquino added.

* He said the Philippines continues to take steps to maintain and even improve its low-emission development strategy and the trajectory of energy mix, and is hopeful that fellow developing nations, especially those who have been gaining the economic wherewithal to pursue similar strategies, will tread a parallel path.

“We are tagging public expenditure on climate change to ensure that the appropriate prioritization and allocation of funds is achieved,” Aquino revealed.

The country has engaged other stakeholders in developing a disaster risk financing and insurance policy framework that can reduce the impact of disasters on the poorest and most vulnerable Filipinos, he said.

“Perhaps the international community may see the value of such an instrument, and look at it as a model to increase the financial resiliency of other nations in a situation similar to ours,” Aquino added.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Noy’s turn to receive bashing in NY forum Written by Joshua L. Labonera Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:00

US-based Filipino protesters de-manding explanation from President Aquino over the spate of extrajudicial killings, misuse of Yolanda funds, and the presence of US troops in the Philippines disrupted Aquino’s speech midway yesterday at the Columbia University World Leaders Forum in New York City.

Three activists from the United States wing of Anakbayan shouted “No justice, no peace. Stop the killings in the Philippines” just when Aquino was giving his speech before academics and officials at the Columbia University.

Aquino did not respond to the disruption and instead continued to answer questions during the forum.

The protesters were later escorted out of the hall where the forum is being held and rejoined their group holding a rally within the premises of the university.

Anakbayan USA national chairman Yves Nibungco acknowledged that the three protesters belonged to their group and were not students of Columbia University but withheld their names based on the advice of the group’s legal counsel.

“The Aquino government continues to murder the Filipino people by sending its military to kill and hunt down community activists,” he said. “Fifty million dollars of our tax in the US is being sent to fund the murderous and notorious Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.

The US bureau of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) recounted that around 35 protesters hounded Aquino with protests in his speaking engagement at Columbia University.

“Aquino was visibly caught off guard as young Filipino-Americans with Anakbayan New Jersey, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), and Gabriela New York challenged him from the audience during a forum held inside Columbia’s Low Memorial Library with questions on the pork barrel scandal, Typhoon Haiyan, and human rights abuses treated with impunity.

The rally was held in the main courtyard of the university with Bayan USA raising the issue of the dominance of US interests over Philippine economic and political spheres “stunting Philippine economic growth and deepening poverty in the country.”

At the forum, the questions and comments were raised on lack of adequate relief for typhoon Yolanda victims with some not receiving any relief at all, after 10 months since the disaster struck.

“Public funds for disaster relief and preparedness were slashed but the pork barrel system still continues, especially with the President’s defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP),” Jenab-i Pareja of NYCHRP said.

A streamer stating “Oust Aquino, Pork Barrel King” was unfurled near the stage where Aquino was giving his speech.
The young activists inside the library also raised the issue of human rights abuses with a banner reading “End Impunity. Stop the Killings”.

“I have been to Hacienda Luisita. I have seen first hand the continuing plight of the farmworkers, the families of the laborers of those who were massacred for wanting to earn more than 9 pesos a day. It’s unbelievable to me that this can happen on the piece of property owned by the President’s family,” Joelle Lingat of Anakbayan New Jersey said.
Bayan USA said the group was escorted out by New York City police.

* Aquino, in his speech, was hitting yet again at his predecessors, saying some of them did not share the principles of her mother, late former President Corazon Aquino, and instead followed Marcos’ playbook towards another dictatorship.

“Unfortunately, not all presidents who followed my mother shared her belief. To some, democracy was a tool to be manipulated; power was a seat to be claimed, from which one could impose his or her own will upon the people,” Aquino said.

Aquino had specifically bashed former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for supposedly imitating an authoritarian government and cited her hunger for power after an extended nine-and-a-half-year rule.

Aquino even tagged Arroyo’s regime as the “lost decade,” anchoring his fault-finding on his predecessors’ corrupt and impunity-laden administration.

“She seemed to have taken a course on how to abuse the system, straight from Mr. Marcos’ playbook,” Aquino said.

“Through the years of the ‘lost decade,’ the government decayed, weakened by corruption and impunity. Businesses became more afraid to invest in the Philippines, for lack of a level playing field and stability in the political climate,” Aquino added.

Also, Aquino added his administration has been keen on running after those he considered as in connivance with Arroyo, counting among them former Chief Justice Renato Corona and three opposition senators who are now facing charges before the court.

“The message is clear: Gone are the days when money, power, and influence determined one’s innocence or guilt,” he said.
“Dismantling the culture of corruption, establishing a level playing field, strategically investing in the people, and addressing their vulnerabilities have allowed the Philippines to realize its long dormant economic potential,” Aquino noted.

On another note, after the head bashing, Aquino bragged about his administration’s feats on economic scenes, gearing it on the average growth from 2010 to 2013 pegged at 6.3 percent under his leadership.

“Since we came into office, there have been 20 positive credit ratings actions directed at the Philippines. In 2013, all three major credit rating agencies were unanimous in upgrading the Philippines to investment grade, the first time that this had ever happened in our history,” Aquino said.

“These ratings actions come at a time of greater conservatism for these ratings agencies, owing to the scrutiny that came after the global economic downturn,” he added.

As per the Palace yesterday, the Philippine government continues to improve on its liability management performance on the back of the Aquino administration’s efforts to maintain the nation’s creditworthiness.

As of March 2014, the general government (GG) debt stood at P4,492.0 billion or 38.1% of GDP. The current ratio is lower than the Q1 2013 level of 38.5%. The ratio is used by many debt watchers to assess the creditworthiness of sovereigns.

“We will continue to bring down government debt as part of our efforts to minimize government risk and liabilities. As our economy continues to grow, we want to ensure that we do so on sound and strong fiscal foundations,” Treasurer of the Philippines Rosalia de Leon said.

The GG debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio stood at 44.3% in 2009, a notch higher than when the Aquino administration took office. The difference marks an improvement of 6.2 percentage points.

“Philippine manufacturing has rebounded, growing 10.8 percent in the second quarter of this year; we continue to welcome record high numbers of tourists; and more and more investors from all over the world are placing their bets on the Filipino people,” President Aquino said.

Anchored on the imminent threat brought by climate change, Aquino also encouraged fellow world leaders to commit on actions to lessen the impact of climate change, during his speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York, USA.

Aquino has likened the situation of other countries with the Philippines, saying that the country, although not a major emitter of factors that worsen climate change, still see the opportunities borne of more environmentally progressive policies.

“The Philippines is not waiting. We are addressing climate change to the maximum with our limited resources. Legislation has been enacted to lessen the impact of disasters by adopting a comprehensive approach to disaster response,” he said.

Aquino said the country has empowered forecasting agencies so give timely warnings to vulnerable communities for national and local authorities. The president said that improvements such as multi-hazard and geo-hazard mapping have been done by the government to aid risk assessment.

President Aquino also said the country has undertaken a massive re-greening program on top of an intensified anti-illegal logging campaign. The President said it has tagged public expenditure on climate change to ensure that the appropriate prioritization and allocation of funds is achieved.

“Perhaps the international community may see the value of such an instrument, and look at it as a model to increase the financial resiliency of other nations in a situation similar to ours,” Aquino said.

“I believe the challenge before us is to innovate on ways in which the transfer of useful technology and the building of climate-smart infrastructure might be achieved under a global unity of effort,” he added.

Aquino underscored the importance of giving attention to climate change, as it does not recognize national boundaries, or political or economic affiliations. The president called on fellow leaders to face the challenges and surmount it.

“Let the first concrete commitment we make be a change in mindset: From one of arguing over dividing the work, to one where we all do the maximum that we can, always asking, What more can we do,” Aquino said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino didn’t snub Filipinos in US—Palace By Kristine Angeli Sabillo |INQUIRER.net2:59 pm | Sunday, September 28th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III talks to reporters during an interview in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday denied accusations that President Benigno Aquino III deliberately snubbed a Filipino community in California during his trip to the United States last week. “LA (Los Angeles) was not in the itinerary from the start,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told INQUIRER.net.

Coloma was reacting to media reports that the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles was upset that Aquino did not take time to visit them despite dropping by a gun shop and a hamburger restaurant in San Francisco, also in California.

He said Aquino spent most of his short time in San Francisco meeting with business leaders.

“During the short period of time his plane was in San Francisco, the President met with leaders of two multinational companies on entertainment and banking who expressed interest in investing or expanding their current participation in the robust economy of our country,” Coloma explained.

* The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (Facla) told TFC’s “Balitang America” that they have long been trying to invite Aquino to their Facla Hall, which was one of the last places his father, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., visited before he was assassinated.

But Coloma said he was not aware of any plan for Aquino to visit Los Angeles.

“We ask for their understanding. The President’s itinerary was quite hectic: 94 events in 11 days in 7 cities across continents and time zones,” he explained.

Upon Aquino’s return to the Philippines after his 12-day visit to Europe and the United States, he said he was able to secure $2.3 billion in pledged investments. During his speech, he said the highlight of his trip was meeting Filipinos living and working abroad and telling them about the improvements at home.

Aquino gains investments, diplomatic support from 12-day foreign trip By Kristine Angeli Sabillo |Philippine Daily Inquirer4:12 am | Friday, September 26th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday evening proudly shared the fruits of his 12-day trip to Europe and the United States, which ranged from investment prospects to pledges of diplomatic support.

Arriving past 10 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the President gave his arrival speech in front of fellow government officials and media.

Aquino said his visits to Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and the US resulted in 94 engagements attended and important meetings with leaders of the said countries and big businesses.

Maritime dispute

While he did not mention China, he said all the leaders he met expressed support for the country’s decision to pursue arbitration before the United Nations.

“Nabigyan po tayo ng pagkakataong ipaliwanag ang ating posisyon ukol sa West Philippine Sea; malinaw nga po sa ating pagharap sa iba’t ibang pinuno, pati na rin sa mga think tank, na nauunawaan nila ang katuwiran ng ating paninindigan,” he said. “Ikinalulugod nga po natin ang pagpapahayag ng suporta ng mga pinunong ating nakausap.”

(We were given the opportunity to explain our position pertaining to the West Philippine Sea; it was clear that the leaders and think thanks we met understood the basis of our position. We are glad at the pledges of support made by the heads of state that we met.)

While Aquino was in Europe, Chinese state media issued commentaries on the situation of Chinese nationals in the Philippines, some of whom were victims of crime. One opinion piece also said that Aquino was mistaken in bringing forth the maritime dispute to European leaders.

More local jobs

He also boasted the $2.35 billion worth of investments pledged by foreign companies, which he said would create 33,850 jobs in the country.

“Nagkakaisa sila sa kanilang tiwala sa gumaganda nating ekonomiya at sistemang panlipunan. Alam nila ang bunga ng ating mga reporma; at umaasa sila sa patuloy nating pag-angat,” (All of them have trust in the improving economy and social system of the country. They know the fruits of our reforms and they are hoping that we will continue to rise.)

Aquino declined to detail the agreements but he said Coca-Cola reported that it had already complied with its promise to invest additional $1 billion before 2015. He said he also tried to convince Volkswagen to construct its global manufacturing hub in the Philippines.

“Malaking bentahe ang lumalaki nating middle class, pati na rin ang maganda nating lokasyon at ang husay ng ating manggagawa, at ipagpapatuloy po natin ang pang-eengganyo sa kanila,” he said. (A large advantage is our ballooning middle class, as well as the good location and quality of our skilled workers. We will continue to encourage them.)

* Aquino also mentioned the proposal of an official of a prominent bank to globalize the Philippine peso.

Climate change call

The Philippines also took the spotlight during the United Nations Climate Summit in New York where Aquino gave a speech on the effects of climate change on countries that are developing and vulnerable to natural disaster.

“Pinalakas pa natin ang panawagan para sa sama-samang pagkilos ng mga bansa upang tugunan ang epekto ng pagbabago sa klima. Idiniin natin doon: bawat bansa, maliit man o malaki, ganap nang maunlad o papaunlad pa lamang, ay dapat iambag ang lahat nang maiaambag upang harapin ang hamon ng Climate Change,” he said. (We strengthened the call for collective action of countries to address the effects of climate change. We emphasized that each country, big or small, developed or just starting to develop, should contribute everything it can to face the challenge of climate change.)

Because he was abroad when strong typhoons battered the country in the past weeks, Aquino thanked Filipinos who contributed to help those in need during times of calamity. He said his officials always coordinated with him for instructions to keep Filipinos safe from disasters.

He said seeing the smiles of Filipinos living and working abroad was the highlight of his trip, especially since he was able to tell them about the improvements at home.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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