President Arroyo’s Departure Statement:
Manila (27 October) -- There is nothing more important for our nation than peace and prosperity. My most sacred pledge as President is to keep our nation strong and secure and to promote the common welfare. The recent nuclear test in North Korea reminded us all of the importance of regional solidarity in the face of irrational aggression.
My trip to China to meet with the regional leaders of ASEAN and China is a step toward securing the peace and security we need. We are in a new era, and we must forge new alliances and new friendships to protect our way of life.
My trip to China is also to celebrate the role ASEAN has played in bringing China into the fold and integrating China into the world economy. China is now a powerhouse and I am proud that ASEAN and the Philippines have played a role in their success.
Our relationship with China will bring not only strengthened regional security, but it will also enhance our economic fortunes. Economic prosperity through new investments and new markets will help build a new, modern, more prosperous Philippines. We can and must continue to lift up our poor and improve our quality of life with good jobs and good wages.
International engagement has helped us attain growth; it will continue to do so.
Meeting with ASEAN leaders and China is another strong step toward preparing the Philippines for greater prosperity. Promoting openness, extending cooperation and building friendship is a policy that clearly wins out over perpetuating a closed society, aiding alienation and seeking confrontation. We are on the right track in the region as we build solidarity among neighbors in pursuit of peace and economic development.
I am proud to represent the Philippines at this important moment in history. The Philippines is blessed with the honor of being the Chair of the ASEAN Leaders Summit and the host of the East Asian Leaders meeting, both in Cebu in December. This reflects great pride on the Philippines.
It is with pride that I depart for China to represent 85 million hardworking Filipinos. I look forward to a fruitful trip and, as always, I look forward to my return. (OPS/PIA-MMIO) [top]