FROM  EUROPE:  ARRIVAL  STATEMENT  OF  THE  PRESIDENT 

MANILA,
JULY 3, 2006 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY, MALACANANG) (Statement issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo upon her arrival today, July 2, 2006, from her official visits to the Vatican City, Italy and Spain from June 25 to 30:)

I ARRIVE HOME IN TIME FOR THE GREAT VICTORY OF MANNY PACQUIAO IN ANOTHER MOMENT OF PRIDE FOR THE FILIPINO, WHO SHINES EVERYWHERE AND IN EVERY FIELD IN THE GLOBAL FIRMAMENT.

AS I CONGRATULATE MANNY FOR A FIGHT WELL FOUGHT, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FILIPINO PEOPLE FOR STANDING BESIDE ME IN MY VISIT TO SPAIN, ITALY AND THE VATICAN IN THE NAME OF LIFE, HUMAN SOLIDARITY, AND PROSPERITY.

I BRING HOME THE WARM GREETINGS OF THE LEADERS I ENCOUNTERED, AND THE GOOD TIDINGS OF ALL OUR KABABAYANS IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD.

THE LEADERS I MET WELCOMED THE PRO-LIFE, PRO-FAMILY, AND PRO-PEOPLE VISION OF THE FILIPINO. IN BEHALF OF OUR PEOPLE, I RECEIVED ONLY PRAISE AND SUPPORT FROM THE LEADERS OF THE VATICAN, ITALY AND SPAIN FOR OUR LEADING ROLE IN BRINGING TOGETHER VARIOUS FAITHS FOR PEACE.

SA AMING PAG-UUSAP NG MAHAL NA SANTO PAPA, IPINAABOT NIYA SA AKIN AT SA BANSANG PILIPINAS ANG KANYANG PAGBABASBAS AT NANGAKONG IPAGDARASAL NIYA ANG SAMBAYANANG PILIPINO AT ANG PATULOY NA PAG-UNLAD NG ATING BAYAN.

IN BEHALF OF FILIPINO CATHOLICS, I EXPRESSED OUR DREAM FOR MORE FILIPINO ARCHBISHOPS TO THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS AS WELL AS THE PRAYER FOR THE BEATIFICATION OF MOTHER IGNACIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO AND THE CANONIZATION OF BLESSED PEDRO CALUNGSOD.

FILIPINOS ARE THE MOST ENDEARING BRIDGES BETWEEN THEIR HOST COUNTRIES AND OUR OWN. ITALIAN PRESIDENT NAPOLITANO AND PRIME MINISTER PRODI BOTH ASSURED ME THAT THEIR GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK AFTER OUR KABABAYANS WHO FORM THE SIXTH LARGEST OVERSEAS COMMUNITY IN ITALY. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE REGULARIZATION OF THE STATUS OF OUR OFWS THERE, AND WE STARTED IN A SYMBOLIC WAY BY AGREEING ON THE AUTOMATIC CONVERSION OF DRIVERS LICENSES THAT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES AND ITALY.

AS IN THE VATICAN AND ROME, I THANKED THE GOVERNMENT OF SPAIN FOR MOVING TO REGULARIZE THE SENDING OF FILIPINO HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS TO SPAIN.

MY VISIT WAS PERFECTLY TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF PHILIPPINE-SPANISH FRIENDSHIP DAY AND THE 2006 PHILIPPINE-SPANISH CULTURAL YEAR.

HIS MAJESTY KING JUAN CARLOS I AND QUEEN SOFIA ACCORDED ME THEIR WARMEST AND MOST GRACIOUS WELCOME AND I WAS HONORED TO ACCEPT HIS MAJESTY’S INVITATION FOR A STATE VISIT TO SPAIN NEXT YEAR, THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF OUR DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.

PRIME MINISTER JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO AND I WERE ONE IN OUR RESOLVE TO BOLSTER OUR AGREEMENTS IN DEFENSE AND JUDICIAL COOPERATION

I MET WITH THE CONFEDERACION ESPANOLA DE ORGANIZACIONES EMPRESARIALES, THE LARGEST ECONOMIC GROUP IN SPAIN. THERE WAS SERIOUS INTEREST IN INVESTMENTS IN THE TOURISM, INFRASTRUCTURE, MINING, ENERGY AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. FOUR PROJECTS WORTH 300 MILLION EUROS ARE ON STREAM FOR OIL AND GAS, HOTEL AND RESORT DEVELOPMENT, ICT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT.

IN THE COURSE OF MY TRIP, SPANISH AND FILIPINO PARLIAMENTARIANS BELONGING TO THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT INTERNATIONAL SIGNED A PROTOCOL FOR THE ORGANIZATION OF AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR THE CONVERSION/INVESTMENT OF FOREIGN DEBT OF POOR COUNTRIES.

THE CONFERENCE SEEKS TO CREATE A SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT WILL SERVE AS A PLATFORM FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE DEBT OF 100 POOR AND MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES INTO MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, WITH THE AIM OF REDUCING BY HALF POVERTY BY 2015.

ALL THESE DEVELOPMENTS CONVERGE WITH OUR CONTINUING GAINS IN ECONOMIC GROWTH, POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE PHILIPPINES.

I AM DETERMINED TO LEVERAGE ALL DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS TO PUSH THE LIMITS OF OUR VISION TO BE A FIRST WORLD NATION IN TWENTY YEARS ON THE BACK OF FILIPINO ENTERPRISE, VIBRANT TRADE AND PERMANENT PEACE AND STABILITY FOR THE PHILIPPINES.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK VICE PRESIDENT DE CASTRO AND THE CABINET FOR FORGING AHEAD IN THE DAY TO DAY CONCERNS OF GOVERNANCE WHILE I WAS GONE. I WILL JOIN THE EXECUTIVE TEAM TOMORROW TO LEAD OUR CONTINUING FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY, GOOD GOVERNANCE, INVESTMENTS AND JOBS. IN ALL STAGES OF MY TRIP, MY HEART WAS ALWAYS WITH THE FILIPINO POOR.

MARAMING SALAMAT PO!

PGMA congratulates Pacquiao for his latest ring victory

President Gloria Macapagl-Arroyo urged the Filipino people to be focused and determined towards attaining a strong and prosperous economy as she congratulated the Philippines’ boxing pride Manny Pacquiao in his victorious ring battle today against Mexican challenger Oscar Larios.

In a statement, the President said Pacquiao’s victory at the Araneta Coliseum is an embodiment of the Filipino’s fighting spirit, brought about by the discipline, hard work and determination which the country needs to become prosperous.

"The entire nation celebrates the feat of our boxing hero. Once more, Manny epitomized the fighting spirit of the Filipino-- the discipline, hard work and determination that we all need to fulfill our dreams for our country," the President said.

"We need to be focused as Manny in preparing and persevering towards our goal—a strong economy, a stable political system and a prosperous society," she added.

"We have emerged triumphant over the adversities and challenges that we are facing as a people and let us continue to be inspired by Manny’s toughness against all odds. It was a battle well fought and we also congratulate Oscar Larios for his courage and grit in the ring," the President said.

Pacquiao’s latest ring victory came just hours after President Arroyo had returned from promoting the Philippines in Spain and Italy.

In a related statement, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said it is the responsibility of all Filipinos to promote the country here and abroad "if we want our economy to flourish amidst a world of challenge and competition."

"President Arroyo is investing so much in the promotion of our country here and abroad and has made unprecedented trade and security gains in her latest visit to Spain and Italy," Bunye said.

He added that this high level diplomacy is backed by the impressive performance and industry of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) wherever they work in the world, as well as the spirit of enterprise of the Filipino people.

"We must beef up these gains by our unity and resolve to push economic growth and uphold the rule of law by casting aside gutter politics. We have already planted the seeds of reform on all fronts and we must continue to nurture what we have accomplished," Bunye said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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