PGMA off to Switzerland for World Economic Forum and Dubai to meet investors and overseas Filipino workers
Manila (22 January) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo flew to Switzerland at noon today to attend the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos where the Chief Executive will "meet with a number of the world leaders who are partners with the Philippines in bringing peace to Mindanao, aid and assistance to our poor, and greater security in the fight against terrorism."
After her Switzerland events, the President will proceed to the Emirate of Dubai in the Middle East on the way back to Manila to meet top businessmen from the Gulf and overseas Filipino workers in the region.
Wearing an all-black outfit, the President arrived 15 minutes early at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Centennial II terminal where Philippine Airlines (PAL) PR-001 awaited her at the south-most bay.
President Arroyo was accompanied by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo who skirted the Philippine Air Force (PAF) honor guards that gave foyer honors for the departing President, passing at the back of the said guards as President Arroyo was escorted by Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., through the line.
With the PAF band playing in the background, the President bid farewell to the military, police and government officials who saw her off, including Vice President Noli de Castro.
Also on hand to bid the President farewell were Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and Environment Secretary Jose Atienza, among others.
Among the President's delegation to Europe is Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye who earlier stressed that "at a time when we must all collaborate more closely, any time that she (President Arroyo) has to meet new leaders and thinkers is time well spent for her and for the nation."
The Presidential spokesman had also pointed out that the Davos forum is an "excellent opportunity for the President to discuss with world leaders the Philippines' point of view and approach in addressing issues…"
Indeed, President Arroyo – who presided over the regular Tuesday Cabinet meeting at Malacanang before leaving for Europe – stated, thus:
"…We depart today for Europe and the Middle East to continue to advance the strategic interests of the Philippines, and press the need for close economic, political, and social relations between the Philippines and the world."
In her statement at the start of the joint National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Cabinet cluster and the National Anti-Poverty Commission-Cabinet cluster meeting, the President added that "another central goal of our trip is to continue the relentless promotion of the Philippines as a great place to invest and do business."
"For the first time in a generation, the Philippine economy is on a path to sustained economic growth, creating millions of new jobs and billions of new pesos in revenue to invest in our people and our infrastructure to build up our nation. Foreign investment is central to that progress," the President stressed.
"We are proud of the results of our ability to attract more and more business to the Philippines the last seven years," she added.
Before Davos, the President will touch down in Zurich where her first order of business is her keynote speech before the Swiss Chamber of Commerce. While there, President Arroyo will also be "meeting with our International Board of Advisors which is comprised of some of the world's top business leaders who are helping communicate the dynamism and the very positive new environment for business that is being created in our nation."
After her Switzerland events, the President will proceed to the Middle East on the way back to Manila: "Our journey will also take us to the Arabian Gulf and the Emirate of Dubai where we will meet with top businessmen from the Gulf and the leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a government that is playing an important role in global flows of investment capital and energy resources."
The President added about the UAE: "This is also a country that employs hundreds of thousands of our countrymen and women. We will work to ensure that they continue to enjoy the positive working conditions that they deserve."
"In our meetings with these fellow Filipinos, we will assure them that their contributions to their families and their country are recognized and appreciated."
President Arroyo -- who embarked on her first foreign trip this year – explained that "these visits are part of the commitment of our Administration to global engagement that broadens and deepens our ties, strengthens our security alliances, encourages trade and investment agreements, and protects our overseas Filipino workers."
"We will continue this engagement in 2008 as we have done throughout my presidency. We need the world and we like to think the world needs us – our hardworking people, our ideal geographic location, and our reliability as a friend and ally." (OPS) [top]