Saturday, 30 May 2009

Philippine President in Korea and Russia

Arroyo leaves for Korea, Russia visits

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo left the country Saturday morning for an official visit to South Korea.

According to GMA’s Flash Report, the President departed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila at 10:45 a.m. on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 001 with First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, Senator Miriam Santiago, and other Cabinet officials.

Government-run dzRB radio said Mrs. Arroyo is expected to arrive in the South Korean capital at 3:45 p.m.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) website ( said Mrs. Arroyo is expected to witness the signing of 10 agreements between the two countries, which will focus on trade, energy, and labor during the visit.

She will also attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in Jeju Island on June 1-2.

Mrs. Arroyo will then proceed to Russia from Seoul.

According to the DFA, Mrs. Arroyo will also meet members of the Filipino community, after which the five government-to-private deals will be signed.

The DFA said the five government-to-government agreements include:

• Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Employment Permit System (EPS);
• MOU on Labor and Manpower Development Cooperation;
• Notes on the Grant Aid for Rice Processing Complexes (RPCs);
• MOU on the Feasibility Study on the Multi-Industry Cluster (MIC) Program; and
• MOU on Agricultural Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque and ROK Minister for Labor Lee Young-Hee will sign the MOUs on EPS and Labor and Manpower Development Cooperation.

“The EPS deal is a labor arrangement allowing skilled Filipino workers to avail of job opportunities in South Korea and renews the expired 2006 arrangement. The second MOU is an institutional cooperation arrangement," the DFA said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan will sign a $13-million grant aid to construct RPCs in the provinces of Pangasinan, Bohol, and Davao del Sur.

They will also ink the deal on Feasibility Study on the MIC which pledges the conduct of a KOICA-funded feasibility study on the synergistic cooperation activity envisioned under the MIC.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and the president of the Korean Rural Development Authority will sign an institutional cooperation agreement on agricultural cooperation.

On the other hand, five other government-to-private deals will also be signed. These include:

• MOU on Information Exchange and Cooperation between the Philippine International Sisterhood and Twinning Association and the Korea Local Authorities Foundation for International Relations;

• MOU on Cooperation and Friendship between Benguet Province and Chungcheungbukdo Province;

• MOU between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency on institutional cooperation;

• Project Agreement between the DENR and the Korea Energy Economics Institute; and

• A commercial investment agreement between a Philippine energy firm and a Korean power company.

Mrs. Arroyo's May 30-31 official visit in South Korea is upon the invitation of South Korean President Lee Myung Bak.

Following the visit, she will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit in Jeju Island on June 1-2.

The Philippines and ROK celebrate the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations this year which the President has also declared “Philippines - Republic of Korea Friendship Year."

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-Republic of Korea Dialogue Relations, the DFA noted.

South Korea is one of the Philippines most dynamic partners with bilateral trade at around $5.06 billion and Korean investments in the Philippines at over $3 billion.

Annually, 600,000 Korean tourists take the largest share of the visitor arrivals to the Philippines. - Kimberly Jane T.Tan, GMANews.TV

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