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PIA Press Release

PGMA to tell World Economic Forum on East Asia:
RP is relentless competitor in global and regional markets

Manila (23 June) -- The Philippines is a fierce and relentless competitor in the global and regional markets, with clear competitive advantages in information technology, business process outsourcing (IT/BPO), tourism and human resource development sectors.

This is how President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – who left for Singapore via Philippine Airlines (PAL) commercial flight PR501 at 3 p.m. today – is expected to picture the Philippines to the World Economic Forum for East Asia (WEF-EA) that will tackle the region’s industry, economic and political agendas in Singapore tomorrow, Sunday.

At 8 p.m. today (Saturday), President Arroyo will have dinner with co-chairs of WEF-EA at the State Room of Shangri-La Hotel.

Tomorrow morning (Sunday), she will deliver a speech to open the World Economic Forum for East Asia at the Island Ballroom, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel.

On Sunday afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m., the President will meet with the Filipino community in Singapore composed mostly of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Convention Hall 602, Level 6, Suntec Convention Center.

On Monday (June 25) at 4:15-5:15 p.m., the President will have a coffee meeting with the Philippines-Singapore Business Council at the Straits Room, 4/F Fullerton Hotel.

In the evening, a state dinner will be hosted in her honor by Singaporean President S.R. Nathan at the Banquet Hall, Istana, from 7-8:30 p.m.

In a pre-departure statement issued by Malacanang, the Singapore-bound Chief Executive stressed that in all the forum agenda, the Philippines "shall be heard not as a passive bystander but as a relentless competitor…"

The President stressed that the country is joining the WEF-EA "at a time when investments are at an all-time high…"

She recalled that not long after the Philippines has garnered Texas Instruments’ $1-billion investment, two Japanese companies – Tokyo Electric and Marubeni – declared that they are also "making a four-billion-dollar investment, making it the largest Japanese investment in Philippine history."

"These big investments signify that the Philippines is back and open for business. Our democracy is a proven fact, our economic growth is a work in progress (and) on both counts, the Filipino has shown the ability to stay the course by working hard and believing in the country’s future," the President enthused.

The forum’s industry agenda shall focus on a new generation of East Asian multinationals and the impact of cross-border investments; the economic agenda shall examine the durability of East Asia’s growth in the face of emerging global risks; while the political agenda shall center on its evolving regional architecture and relationships with strategic partners such as India, Russia and the United States.

The President -- who will be feted to a state visit by the Republic of Singapore Monday -- added that in her meeting with Singapore President Nathan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, she will also "personally thank them for Singapore’s hospitality to more than a hundred thousand overseas Filipino workers."

The Chief Executive also announced that she will be sharing the Philippine story to the business and financial leaders from around the region with whom she will be meeting, by assuring them that the country’s stronger peso, stable financial markets and vibrant democracy under her administration "make us the best value in Asia."

Wearing a formal black pant suit ensemble, the President was seen off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Centennial Terminal II by Vice President Noli de Castro, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Lim Kheng Hua, Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Esperon and other top military officials, and Police Chief Oscar Calderon.

The President will leave Singapore early Tuesday morning (June 26) via chartered PAL flight PR001 for a historic one-day state visit to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in Western Africa.

Her visit to the tiny but oil-rich African country is upon the invitation of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who made a four-day state visit to the Philippines on May 19-23, 2006.

Equatorial Guinea, which hosts some 2,500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), is a major producer of oil. (OPS) [top]

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