[President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and Philippine and British officials, watch the signing of an agreement between Alan Webber, UK managing director and deputy CEO of Rolls-Royce Aero Ltd., and Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Pacific Air. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

MANILA, JUNE 8, 2012 (MANILA TIMES) by : JAIME R. PILAPIL REPORTER - After a series of business meetings on Tuesday (Manila time), President Benigno Aquino 3rd finalized at least $1.03 billion worth of investment deals in London, according to Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda. 

Mr. Aquino is expected to reap more investment deals after his meeting with another group of businessmen today before heading for Washington, D.C., where is scheduled to meet with President Barrack Obama.

The biggest investment came from commodities trader Glencore and the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (Pasar).

[PHOTO -IN LONDON: President Aquino is welcomed by British officials, led by Baroness Rawlings (third from right), baroness in waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday for his official working visit to the United Kingdom. MALACAÑANG PHOTO]

He said that Presidential Communications for Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang informed the Palace that Glencore-Pasar will pour $600 million to expand the local firm’s smelting capacity and build a power plant to support their operations, which will generate 700 new jobs for Filipinos.

Gaz Asia and Aboitiz, on the other hand, plan to invest $150 million to build plants that will convert bio methane from waste materials.

The President witnessed the signing of a $280-million contract between Cebu Pacific and with Rolls-Royce to provide long-term service support for the Trent 700 engines of up to eight Airbus A330 aircraft of the airline.

“We are delighted to sign this contract with TotalCare today for our Airbus A330s. CEB’s fleet expansion will enable us to launch long-haul operations and serve markets outside Asia Pacific, including those in Europe, the Middle East, Oceania and the United States. The level of support offered by Rolls-Royce through the TotalCare package will further enhance our operations,” said Lance Gokongwei, president and chief executive officer of Cebu Pacific.

The Trent 700, the only engine specifically designed for the A330, is the market leader for the aircraft, with more than 1,400 in service or on order. More than 90 percent of Trent engine operators have selected TotalCare support.

“We welcome Cebu Pacific to the TotalCare family of operators and we look forward to supporting the airline in the next phase of the carrier’s growth. Our ability to evaluate Trent engine data from the worldwide fleet and work with each customer to plan maintenance activities will significantly help Cebu Pacific to meet the airline’s operational and financial goals,” said Bruce Blythe, Rolls-Royce, senior vice president, customers civil aerospace.

CEB operates flights from the Philippines to the most number of capital cities in the Southeast Asian region, and serves the most number of routes. It offers more than 90 flights per week from the Philippines to eight Southeast Asian destinations in six countries.

Mr. Aquino was also set to ink another investment pack with Shell.

The President met Prime Minister David Cameron at 5 p.m. yesterday. He also had a meeting with Prince Andrew at 11 p.m.

There was no chance for Mr. Aquino to have an audience with Queen Elizabeth since she was busy celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. WITH A REPORT FROM ROSALIE C. PERIABRAS


Aquino Slams GMA, Corona Anew; FORGOT ABOUT 'GOOD NEWS' By JC BELLO RUIZ June 7, 2012, 12:12am

LONDON (Via PLDT) –The good news that never came.

President Benigno S. Aquino III got too busy bashing his predecessor, former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona that he forgot about the biggest "good news" of the day – the investment deals signed by Filipino businessmen with British firms – that he wanted to share with some 300 members of the Filipino community here who met him and his delegation at the Intercontinental London Parklane Hotel last Tuesday night.

At the start of his impromptu speech, the President introduced Filipino businessmen Sabin Aboitiz of the Aboitiz group; Angel Veloso of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR); and Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific.

"Kuwento ko ho sa inyo maya-maya konti bakit sila kasama natin ditto," Aquino told the crowd, apparently referring to the $1.03 billion worth investments the Filipino businessmen sealed with British firms earlier in the day. (I will tell you later why I asked them to join us here.)

The President apparently, however, got engrossed relating his issues about the previous administration and Corona that he failed to mention about the "good news" for the rest of his 40-minute impromptu speech.

He mentioned about the positive developments in the Philippines like the 6.4 percent economic growth in the first quarter of this year among others but he forgot altogether why he brought the Filipino businessmen with him.

Instead, he related about the alleged anomalies and irregularities his administration has uncovered from the previous administration including the pre-fabricated bridges worth billions of pesos as well as the over-importation of rice.

He also explained why he supported the impeachment of the former top magistrate, citing his

"midnight appointment" and decisions that seemed to favor Arroyo who is facing election sabotage and plunder charges.

The President said he also got disappointed with the then Corona-led Supreme Court rulings against the Executive Order (EO) No. 1, which created the Philippine Truth Commission tasked to investigate the alleged corruption and cheating scandals that hounded the nine-year Arroyo administration. The same goes with EO 2 which revoked appointments issued by the previous administration in violation of the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

Prior to his meeting with the Filipinos living and working here, President Aquino, who was apparently suffering from colds, led a photoshoot in one of the iconic London double-decker buses sporting the country’s tourism slogan, at the front of the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel.

The Department of Tourism-London launched last month the Philippines’ tourism campaign through a 45-minute fun motorcade that featured advertisements on London’s double-decker buses and black cabs.

So far, there are 25 double-decker buses and 50 iconic black cabs spotted around the bustling streets of London. The subway stations also display images of the famous Ifugao Rice Terraces and the Puerto Princesa Underground River, both proclaimed as World Heritage Sites.

In the same gathering, the President told the Filipino community that he wants a better Philippines when he leaves power in 2016 even without imposing new taxes.

"Someone interviewed me recently and asked me: ‘What would you like to leave your country by the time you step down in 2016?’’My answer was, ‘Why don‘t you visit us in 2016 and tell me if you still recognize the Philippines by the time I step down’," Aquino said in an impromptu speech in mixed English and Filipino.

The President said in a jest that he would even pay for the expenses of the person he was referring to just to see the developments in the Philippines after his six-year term in office.

Aquino shared the gains and plans of his administration as he contrasted them to the problems the country had when he assumed the presidency almost two years ago.

He mentioned among others about the plan to connect the aggressive efforts to attract more tourists; the country’s aim to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2013; improve the quality of education and solve the classroom shortage; the record-highs posted at the Philippine Stock Exchange; the upgrades on the Philippines’ credit rating; the 6.4 percent increase in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2012; and the roll out of big infrastructure projects like the North Luzon Expressway link to the South Luzon Expressway by 2014.

All these, he said, will be realized without imposing new taxes.

"That’s what I promised you, right?" the President said as he was applauded by the crowd.

To raise revenues, Aquino said the Bureau of Internal Revenue will just continue to run after tax evaders.

Earlier Tuesday, he toured the Imperial War Museum of London.

The President wraps up his three-day official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Wednesday with separate meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron and His Royal Highness the Duke of York Prince Andrew at the Buckingham Palace.

He will be proceeding to the Washington D.C. Wednesday night.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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