GMA urges Filipino, Korean business leaders to help their countries navigate the global crisis
Manila (20 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has urged Korean and Filipino business leaders to harness their enthusiasm and wisdom to help forge a strong and strategic bond of cooperation for the prosperous future of the Philippines and South Korea.
"To help our two countries navigate the current world crisis, let us combine the wisdom of our shared past and enthusiasm to create a firm and strategic bond of cooperation," the President told the business leaders in her keynote address during the dinner that ushered the Philippines-Korea Business Forum at the Manila Hotel, Wednesday night (February 18).
The forum presages the upcoming celebration of the 60th year of the strong bilateral and economic ties between South Korea and the Philippines.
The President said the two countries can look forward to a brighter future given their vigorous partnership and a meaningful interaction. To substantiate her confidence in the robust bilateral ties of the two countries, she declared 2009 as the official "Philippines-Republic of Korea Friendship Year" and March 3, 2009 as RP-Korea "Friendship Day."
Department of Tourism records show that Korean's students and retirees are the biggest tourist groups regularly visiting the country.
President Arroyo also noted that over 900 Korean companies are currently operating in the Philippines. Among them are Hanjin Heavy Industries, Korea Electric Power corporation (KEPCO), Samsung, LG and Eastern Group.
In terms of development cooperation, the chief executive observed that Korea has been a dependable partner of the Philippines, and has strongly helped her administration achieve the set targets of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan.
She also noted that Korean companies have also helped the Philippine government in upgrading major infrastructures including the Metro Manila North and South Railway Link, the Olongapo-Gapan Road, the Laguindingan Airport in Mindanao, the modernization of the Cavite Memorial Hospital in Trece Martirez City, Cavite.
Korean firms, she added, have also significantly contributed to the country's information technology and agriculture.
Hosted jointly by the Manila Bulletin and the Maeil Business Newspaper, the First Phil-Kor Business Forum has Maynila Ballroom of the Manila Hotel as its venue. Aptly titled "Rediscovering the Philippines: The Pearl of Asia," the forum is personally supervised by Ambassador Choi Joong-Kyung, South Korean envoy to Manila.
The forum was also addressed by key officials and business leaders of the two countries. Former President Fidel V. Ramos conclude the forum.
Other upcoming events that will highlight this year's Phil-Kor festivities include the Philippine-Korean Friendship night and the 34th International Bamboo Organ Festival on February 24 at the Las Piņas Church and the Korean Food Festival at the Manila Hotel on March 3, the Korean Drama and Film week in May and an RP-ROK University Basketball competition in July.
The series of events will be capped in November by the Korean Film Festival, RP-ROK Cultural Festival, and the RP-ROK Economic Forum in Seoul, Korea. (PIA-MMIO) [top]