FROM IGNACIO BUNYE: VIEW FROM THE PALACE
MALACANANG, August 8, 2005 (via INTERNET) (For the week ending August 7, 2005) - Contrary to reports which appeared in a morning daily (not the Bulletin) the President correctly addressed South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun during a dinner last Friday tendered in honor of visiting Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan.
In welcoming her South Korean dinner guests, the President said she looked forward to meeting President Roh in Manila for the upcoming State Visit. She ended her remarks by asking the guests in joining her in a in a toast for the continued good health of their Excellencies President Roh and Prime Minister Lee, and for the strong and vibrant relations between our respective nations and peoples.
Unfortunately, one of our in-house writers mistakenly prepared a press release referring to the South Korean President as Cheung Wa Dae, the presidential palace. We are now looking into this incident.
RP-South Korean relations have never been better. Foreign direct investments from South Korea have been increasing particularly in the energy sector and in shipbuilding. KEPCO’s big ticket investment are in two coal-fired power plants in the Naga Power Complex and also in the expansion of the Ilijan Power Plant in Batangas,
Last May the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Hanjin Heavy Industries agreed to establish a ship component fabrication facility – later to be expanded to a USD 1 Billion shipbuilding facility at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Over 380,000 South Korean tourists visited the Philippines last year. In trade, we are looking at increasing our agricultural exports to South Korea.
The huges investments of Korea amidst the political noise is an indication that the international community accepts the signs of a maturing democracy which is on the road to genuine and long lasting change. This confidence is effectively corroborated by the stable peso and stock market, and the taming of the inflation rate.
In short, investor and consumer confidence in the Philippines remains solid.
More good news. Growth in remittances from Filipinos working overseas may exceed its 10 percent forecast for the year. Remittances increased a fifth to $4 billion in the first five months of 2005 from a year earlier. Repatriated funds reached a record $879 million in May, 26 percent more than a year ago, as Filipinos found higher-paying jobs abroad. With remittances expected to reach $12 billion, the peso would likely strengthen from its current levels.
Every time a new survey comes out, we are besieged with media requests for comments as if the matter of governance would stop or be drastically altered depending on the survey results. While we acknowledge that surveys could be a useful tool for decision-making, they are by no means the end-all and be-all of governance.
The President is not focused on the surveys but rather on her job of daily service to the people. The President intends to carry on with her economic and political reforms, regardless how popular or unpopular she may be. Her vision for the country is steady and undistracted. As she once said: "I would rather have good economic figures than high popularity numbers."
Judging by what he has said, we believe that Archbishop Cruz had already prejudged the President in connection with the jueteng allegations and we take this as the effect of the lies being fed to him by his sources. Yet we shall always share the good Archbishop’s vision of totally eradicating jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling in the country and we appreciate the courage he has shown in upholding his principles.
Last Saturday evening, I paid my final respects to Raul Roco. With his death, Muntinlupa City, which I once proudly headed as mayor, has lost a friend and supporter. Ten years ago, I called on Senator Roco at his office to solicit his assistance in pushing for the cityhood of Muntinlupa. When he found out what I came to see him for, he pulled out a folder which already contained a draft bill proposing cityhood for Muntinlupa. True to word, he filed the bill in the Senate the following day. The rest is history.
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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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