FFCCCII backs PGMA’s trip to China

The Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) expressed elation over President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s upcoming visit to China, saying it will pave the way for more Chinese investments in the Philippines.

“We express our full support to Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s visit to China to further strengthen the diplomatic and economic ties between the Philippines and China,” said the FFCCCII in a statement signed by FFCCCII president John H. Tan.

The Chinese business group stressed that the President’s Aug. 7-10 China visit “will pave the way for more investments in the Philippines with the scheduled business meetings between the Philippine delegation and Chinese businessmen.

“President Arroyo’s attendance at the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony upon the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao also manifests the importance we give to foster our friendship with China and a good opportunity for President Arroyo to give encouragement to our Filipino athletes who will participate in the Olympic Games,” Tan said. (PIA/Bohol)

PGMA orders strict audit of oil, power firms to ensure public benefit from lower oil prices

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered an audit of oil and power companies to ensure that the downtrend in world oil prices will immediately benefit the public in the form of lower prices of the socially-sensitive commodity.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza told a press briefing that the President directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to undertake the audit.

He said the President wants to ensure that oil and power companies are fully compliant with the Oil Deregulation Law, and that the lowering of oil prices in the international market are correspondingly reflected in the local market.

For his part, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Secretary Cerge Remonde said that the President directed Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to conduct a “more strict audit of oil firms” during the joint National Price Coordinating Council and National Food and Energy Council (NPCC-NFEC) meeting.

The President wants the claim of oil and power companies of “under recoveries” verified through strict auditing procedures, Remonde added. (PIA/Bohol)

PGMA raises cash pot for first RP Olympic gold to P15-M

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo raised from P10.5 million to P15 million the cash pot for the gold medal that Team Philippines will win in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The President made the announcement during the courtesy call of Team Philippines on her at Malacanang’s Heroes Hall.

An Olympic gold medal would be first for the Philippines. The country has been participating in the World Games for 84 years, or since 1924, but has come up with only nine medals, none of them gold.

The Philippine Olympic Commission had earlier announced that the athlete who wins the first Philippine Olympic gold will receive P10.5 million, but the President added P4.5 million, to make it P15 million.

The President also gave $1,000 allowance to each of the athletes.

In this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing from Aug. 8 to 24, the Philippines is sending 15 athletes who will compete in eight sports disciplines: boxing, taekwondo, shooting, archery, diving, swimming, athletics, and weightlifting.

Reigning World Boxing Council lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao was appointed by the President as the country’s special Olympics envoy and flag-bearer during the parade of nations. (PIA/Bohol)

PGMA not after MERALCO but lower power rates

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo clarified that the government is not out to pin down the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) but is only after lower power rates especially for the poor, according to Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

One of the President’s economic advisers, Salceda explained that the ”concern of the President is how to bring down the cost of power, especially for the poor amid the spiralling price of oil in the world market.”

He said the government must not only review the Independent Power Producers (IPP) contract of Meralco but must conduct a ”general review of all IPPs contract.”

”A review of the IPPs, I think, that’s the best policy,” Salceda added.

Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo batted for the reduction of power rates and called for support of her advocacy for the lowering of electricity charges. (PIA/Bohol)

PGMA breezes thru Bohol to open SRNH central seaboard

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) breezes through Bohol on Tuesday, April 29 to fill a leg of journey that would finally connect key ports in the country’s central seaboard.

This happens as she leads the inauguration rites of the Central Seaboard of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH).

The SRNH, the Administration’s brain child involves funding the putting up of Roll-on, Roll-off (RoRo) ports system aimed at perking up inter-island farm trade.

The SRNH also hopes to improve flow and distribution of basic goods and services, reduce travel time and transportation costs as well as promote domestic tourism.

Set in the Central Philippines, thus Central Seaboard, the government funded key improvement projects on intricate network of roads and ports in various regions in Luzon and the Visayas to Mindanao to finally unite the country’s three main islands groups.

While the country has a backbone Maharlika highway that connects Luzon to Mindanao, travel of unprocessed farm goods by land has put up huge losses, one that makes it not as economically viable option for farmers, shippers have complained.

With the SRNH opening up its Central seaboard, the delivery of basic goods and farm produce like vegetables and livestock is easier, more economical and efficient as travel time and costs to and from destinations are considerably reduced, government sources said.

With the Central Seaboard opened, travelers and farm produce from the north going to the south can now take the Bulan Sorsogon to Masbate City ferry, then motor to Cawayan, Masbate where a ferry is again available for Bogo, Cebu.

From Bogo, it would be a land trip to Cebu City where the port has a ferry to Tubigon, Bohol.

In Tubigon, Bohol, one can take the land trip to Jagna Bohol where one exits Bohol to Mambajao Camiguin, and then to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.

In Bohol, the Presidential convoy would be met by well wishers by the roadsides, banners, streamers with the famed presidential brands “Labanan ang Kahirapan” and “Ramdam ang Kaunlaran.”

As early as Saturday, April 26, posters have been noted along Bohol’s coastal roads where the caravan is slated to pass.

The president’s party would be passing through Tubigon, Calape, Loon, Maribojoc, Cortes, Tagbilaran, Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Lila, Dimiao, Valencia, Garcia-Hernandez to Jagna, while going through about a little more than a hundred kilometers of highway also known as the Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Projects.

The President in her previous speeches had pointed out that aside from the convenience of shorter travel times offered to travelers with the routes of the SRNH, spoilage of farm produce has been lessened which in turn has translated to larger income for farmers.

She also said that the increase of visitors to the various tourist spots around the country is also a by-product of the SRNH.

She noted that local and foreign tourist have been enticed to take the “scenic” route on their way to the country’s numerous tourists destinations.

According to the President, the SRNH is a good example of where increased revenue collections from the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law has gone to good use.

Meanwhile, just as the President takes the inaugural run, sectors especially in the transport industry have openly lobbied for support to the SRNH.

“There is great investment opportunity and potential in the Road RoRo Terminal System component of the SRNH,” a President of a key government financial facility said.

“I would like to encourage our stakeholders; the shipbuilders, local government units, and private sector investors; to avail of financing opportunities, he pressed.

Moreover, the Development Bank of the Philippines is putting up its Sustainable Logistics Development Program (SLDP) which is intended to modernize the processing, storage, delivery, and the distribution of grain harvest and perishable goods of traders and farmers from Mindanao and Luzon. (rachiu/PIA)