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PIA Press Release

PGMA to meet with Chinese business community; pursue more ODA funds for irrigation

Manila (20 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will meet with the business community in Shandong and Shanghai during her visit next month to China.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting held in August in Sydney, Australia, the President congratulated Chinese President Hu Jintao on his commencement of its one-year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

She said she looked forward to attending, upon President Hu's invitation, the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai in October 2007, which will be appended to her visit to Shandong.

She also indicated her interest in meeting with the business community in both cities during her trip.

In response, President Hu welcomed President Arroyo's attendance at the Special Olympics, as well as her forthcoming visits to Shanghai and Shandong.

He pledged to develop a visit program that would include meetings with the business community as she had indicated.

President Arroyo talked about the need to increase Chinese tourists to the Philippines.

To this end, she informed President Hu of the plans to put up a Consulate-General in Chongqing and a Trade Office in Chengdu.

She said the establishment of these new posts, along with a significant number of Filipino-Chinese investments in these cities, is in alignment with China's "Go West" policy for countryside development.

President Hu responded by saying that these new Philippine posts would benefit the good relations between the two countries.

On the other hand, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on Wednesday said the Philippine government would also pursue more official development assistance (ODA) for development funding for irrigation projects in the country.

Yap, who is one of the Cabinet secretaries who will accompany the President in China on October 1-3, said "we will be asking for development funding for irrigation projects such as the Agno River Irrigation Program, which is in SONA (state of the nation address) commitment of the President."

"We're trying to get development funding for that," he said.

Another is the Balintingon River Irrigation Program in Nueva Ecija, which will benefit around 16,000 to 26,000 hectares in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan provinces, Yap said.

"The third that we're looking at is the funding of the Navotas fishport as it needs major repair," he said.

"Kailangan nating ayusin yan for food security and food storage purposes," he added.

Yap said the Philippine government is also looking at providing mobile rivers for our fisherfolk "dahil ang problema sa mga community-fishing areas, wala silang refrigerated storage facilities."

"So, these are the four projects we're looking at when we go to China," he said. (PNA) [top]

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