[PHOTO AT LEFT - No secret, this trip. President Arroyo troops the line as she receives military honors upon her arrival at the Brasilia Military Airbase. She is escorted by Brazilian chief of Protocol from Itamaraty (Ministry of External Relations) Ambassador George Prata (right). Behind them is First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.]

MANILA, JUNE 25, 2009 (MALAYA) PRESIDENT Arroyo met Wednesday with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, during which they discussed improved cooperation between the two countries and other "ways and means to enhance bilateral cooperation and people-to-people linkages."

Before meeting Da Silva, Arroyo, arriving from Recife, went to the Brasilia Alvorada Park Hotel for a "salu-salo dinner" with the members of the Filipino community.

The President spent an hour mingling with the Filipinos, some of them coming from other parts of Brazil, as they talked about their Filipino roots and the families waiting for them back in the Philippines.

There are about 400 Filipinos in Brazil, including missionaries and professionals.

Arroyo and Da Silva also witnessed the ministry-level signing of six memoranda of understanding in several investment ventures, energy development, agriculture and mining.

Included were an understanding between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) of Brazil which seeks sharing of knowledge on renewable energy.

Also signed was a joint statement between the Department of Agriculture and the Girolondo Breeders Association of Brazil on the Donation of Cattle Semen for hybrid variety, and an MOU between DA and the Agronomics Institute of Camoinas for bioethanol and sugarcane processing.

The Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Cooperation also signed an MOU with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corp., while the Department of Energy and the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy on BioEnergy Cooperation signed another MOU.

A memorandum of agreement on the Remunerated Employment of Dependents of Diplomatic, Consular, Administrative and Technical Personnel was also signed after the bilateral meeting.

After the MOU signing, Arroyo flew to Rio de Janerio to meet potential Brazilian investors.

Arroyo arrived in Recife City in Pernambuco, Brazil on Monday night (Tuesday morning in Manila).

Arroyo’s first schedule was a meeting with executives of the Compania Vale Do Rio Doce who committed a P600 million investment in copper and gold exploration in Masbate.

Arroyo inaugurated the expansion project of Tecon Suape’s container yard at the Suape Container Terminal (SCT) - the Brazilian subsidiary of Filipino company International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI)- at the Port of Suape.

In May 2000, ICTSI won a bid to manage and operate SCT for a concessional 30-year period. ICTSI made an initial investment of $75 million and an additional US$45 million for the second phase of the expansion program.

Arroyo also unveiled a marker to commemorate her visit to Pernambuco, where she also interacted with 10 of 15 Filipino seafarers employed by Hapag Lloyd whose ship was docked at the port. – Jocelyn Montemayor

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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