China pledges $148-M grant, other economic measures to PH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 26, 2019   •   2567

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping

China has pledged to provide a grant of one billion yuan or approximately $148 million to help boost the Philippine economy, Malacañang said on Thursday (April 25).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Beijing made the commitment to Manila during the bilateral meeting between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum.

READ: PH to explore new areas of cooperation, partnership with China

“President Xi committed to provide one billion yuan grant to the Philippines,” Panelo said in a statement issued on Thursday night.

Panelo added that Xi also committed to pouring more investments into Luzon and Mindanao “to spur regional economic growth as well as promote Clark Green City through the building of an industrial park.”

“The Palace hopes to highlight the discussion between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how this will further help in the economic development of the Philippines,” he said.  

“President Xi manifested that China will provide more resources to Luzon and Mindanao to spur regional economic growth, as well as promote Clark Green City through the building of an industrial park,” he added.

Panelo also quoted Xi as saying that the BRI would have an important role in the relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where Philippines plays an effective role as a country coordinator.

He also stressed BRI’s role in increasing cooperation in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area or BIMP-EAGA.

“We consider the BRI, as articulated by PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte), as another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relationship, which we must continue to foster in the coming years with an aspiration that our fellow Filipinos will feel the true benefits of the PH-China relations,” he added.

Apart from China’s commitment in relation to the BRI, Panelo said Xi also mentioned that the first group of Filipino teachers may soon start teaching English in China.

Xi also committed to continuing donating rice and fingerlings and importing our local fruits, Panelo added. – Robie de Guzman

PH 100% ready to host 2019 SEA Games – Cayetano

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who also heads the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), announced that the country is now 100 percent ready to host the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November.

After inspecting the sports complex in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Wednesday, Cayetano said the facilities to be used for the event have been completed.

“We are 100% ready. Now ang challenges natin ay ‘yung day-to-day. Remember, you’ll have more than 20,000 people, you’ll have 56 sports and around 500 events, so, handling all of these, the traffic, ‘yung food, ‘yung pangangailangan ng athletes, angal ng mga coaches, tapos may mga royalty and head of states… so it’s really the 11 days.

The Philippines will host the SEA Games from November 30 to December 11, 2019. Around 12,000 athletes and their coaches, 1,000 international media members, 15,000 volunteers, and spectators, among others are expected to participate and watch the games.

It is said to be the biggest SEA Games yet as it features 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues. Although these events will be conducted in various parts of Luzon, a bulk of these tournaments will be held in Metro Manila.

Cayetano said they are now finalizing details for various aspects of the event, including logistics and security, to ensure that all aspects of the SEA Games would be properly handled.

He added they have been conducting several rehearsals and walkthroughs to anticipate possible issues that may be encountered throughout the biennial meet.

“Ang nangyayari ngayon rehearse nang rehearse, practice nang practice, meet nang meet. Yung walkthrough importante kasi hindi mo naman makikita ang problema nang hindi muna dinadaanan,” Cayetano said.

“Sa airport lang eh, halos sabay sabay dadating yung mga delegates. Remember, we have to treat the athletes well at ayaw nating ma-accuse na na-hassle sila kaya naapektuhan ang performance nila,” he added.

He also noted that most hurdles faced during the preparations were caused by the budget delay but these have already been addressed through the initiative of the event sponsors and contributions in cash and in kind from private groups.

Cayetano also admitted that heavy traffic, especially in the venues of sporting events in Metro Manila, will be a big challenge during the SEA Games but he assured that the security group is working on a plan to ensure the comfort and convenience of all guests and participants.

They are also eyeing the possibility of declaring holidays in certain cities as well as the closing lanes in several roads to ease the volume of vehicles.

“We have to show the 10 other countries participating yung Filipino hospitality. On one sense we are competitors. We want to win, and win as one. We want to be the overall champion, but we want to win it fairly and squarely. So yung preparations, especially sa athletes, coaches and technical officials ay napaka-importante,” he said.

Indian president arrives in Manila for state visit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (R) arrives at Manila International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 17 October 2019. The Indian head of state is in Manila on an official visit to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of India-Philippines bilateral relations. EPA-EFE/STR

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in the Philippines on Thursday evening for a state visit from October 17 to 21.

Kovind will visit Rizal park on Friday (October 18) for a wreath-laying ceremony and will formally meet President Rodrigo Duterte later in the afternoon for a welcome ceremony at Malacañan Palace.

The two leaders are expected to hold an expanded bilateral meeting and will witness the exchange of agreements between the two governments.

On Saturday (October 19), the Indian Chief Executive will meet with liver transplant patients as well as the beneficiaries of the Mahaveer Philippines Foundation, an organization that helps amputees.

Kovind will also attend the Philippine-India Business Conclave and the 4th Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) Business Summit

On the last day of his visit, the Indian President will meet with the Indian Community in Taguig City.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Cayetano: Amid challenges, PH all set for SEA Games

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

Amid challenges, House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Cayetano said the country is all set for the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) which will be held from November 30 to December 11.

“Overall, we are hundred percent ready. Now ang challenges natin ang day to day (Now, the challenges will be the day-to-day [activities]),” he said during a press conference on Wednesday (October 16) at New Clark City in Tarlac.

Cayetano along with other lawmakers, including Senator Bong Go and HOR’s Committee on Youth and Sports, conducted an inspection of the facility.

However, Cayetano admitted they will still encounter problems because of the budget cut from P7.5 billion to P5 billion this year.

The House Speaker said they can still make ends meet through volunteers and sponsors.

“Pinupunuan ng volunteers iyong pagkukulang natin sa mga paid workers (Volunteers are filling in for our shortcomings to the paid workers),” Cayetano said.

The SEA Games will feature 56 sports or around 500 events. Sixty percent of these events will be held at the New Clark City.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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