MANILA, APRIL 12, 2010
(STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo is leaving this morning for a two-nation swing—in Washington to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) and to lobby with US lawmakers, and in Madrid, Spain to hold talks with King Juan Carlos I and investors.

Mrs. Arroyo is expected to depart at 8:30 a.m. at the Centennial Terminal. There was no information yet as to who would comprise her delegation although among them would likely be Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Press Secretary Crispulo Icban.

The NSS, which will be held from April 12 to 13, was called for by US President Barack Obama and will be attended by 43 heads of state and governments “to discuss the threat posed by illegal diversion of nuclear materials and to develop steps to secure vulnerable nuclear materials; combat nuclear smuggling; and deter, detect and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism,” a Palace statement said.

“The Philippines supports efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism with millions of Filipinos living and working in many parts of the world,” the statement said.

“As President Arroyo remains fully committed towards protecting its nationals abroad, she intends to actively cooperate with other leaders to squarely face the challenge posed by nuclear terrorism,” it said.

Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar noted that the NSS comes ahead of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which the Philippines will preside at the United Nations headquarters in New York in May.

“The Philippines thus considers the NSS as a complement to ongoing efforts and initiatives to rid the world of nuclear weapons,” Olivar said.

While in Washington, Mrs. Arroyo will also push for the passage of the US Save Our Industries Act that is seen to benefit the local garments industry as it will allow local manufacturers to import and use US textiles for re-shipment to the US as finished garments under the cut-and-sew concept, duty-free.

The President will also receive the Teddy Roosevelt International Conservation Award for good natural resource management and conservation.

In Madrid, she will be awarded the Premio Internacional Don Quijote de la Mancha award for promoting the Spanish language and culture in the Philippines during her bilateral meeting with King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on April 15 at the Palacio de la Zarzuela.

The ceremony will be followed by a private meeting with the King and lunch with members of the royal family.

Mrs. Arroyo is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is currently president of the European Union.

She is also expected to receive officials of Spanish food and beverage giant Grupo Leche Pascual Alimentación in Madrid for a possible P360-million investment in the country.

The firm is reportedly planning to establish in the Philippines its regional base for its Asian operations, according to Olivar.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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