Departure Statement of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Departure Statement of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

OPS 21 JUNE 2008

• Before we leave home tonight for the United States, we called a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council this noon wherein we issued the following instructions:

1. Put the whole Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government into a relief-and-rescue standby mode.

2. We ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways into a repair-and-rehabilitation footing so work on damaged infrastructure can begin once the weather clears up.

3. The Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development shall forward-deploy resources to areas on typhoon path. By law, Calamity Funds have been advanced to DND, DPWH and DSWD, which means that the tools to provide care and comfort have been prepositioned in our first responders.

4. The Air Force, including the Presidential Airlift Wing, are under orders to fly mercy missions, when the need arises.

5. Sec. Arthur Yap has been ordered to ensure stable rice supply in affected areas. If Frank will bring flood, Art will respond by flooding these areas with rice. If they will exploit the situation, hoarders will soon find themselves in hot water, a certainty Sec. Raul Gonzales will guarantee.

6. I have also instructed the Pink Brigade of the Metro Manila Development Authority to rush to areas that might be damaged by the storm. Army engineers, with their heavy equipment, will roll out and join the bayanis of Bayani Fernando in their mercy caravan.

7. We dropped by Villamor Air Based and inspected the aircraft and the airmen on standby. We designated VAB as operations center, a springboard for help.

8. With our without the typhoon, but the latter would make it urgent, the distribution of power subsidies will commence in areas the typhoon will hit, in a manner that will not overburden government officials attending to relief work.

• The United States is the Philippines' strongest friend and ally. Filipinos love America, its people and culture. We may be separated by an ocean, but we are bound by a shared history and common values of economic prosperity and a strong democracy. The relations between the US and the Philippines are stable, strong and mature.

• Our friendship goes well beyond simple diplomatic relations between nations. Over 4 million American citizens are of Filipino heritage. Over 250,000 Americans live and work in the Philippines. We are more than allies; we are family.

• During our West Coast visit, we will meet with our Filam and OFW community to discuss their needs and concerns. Not a day goes by that our administration is not fighting for the interests of our OFWs somewhere in the world.

• In Washington, we will be meeting with President Bush and members of his administration as well as political leaders of both parties in the US Congress. We share many issues that are of global concern, beginning with the price of food and fuel and food security. As such, discussions will focus on food security, defense cooperation, environmental protection and economic assistance.

• On food security, the agreement between our two governments will lay the groundwork for securing the following: a) hastening phytosanitary protocols that will open the way for fresh banana and mango exports from the Philippines to the US starting with an initial shipment of $5 million , then $15 million, and growing in the years to come; b) biotechnology cooperation especially in the development of disease tolerant rice seeds varieties through a $1.5 million grant; c) accelerated dairy development program which plans to infuse 10,000 dairy animals in the next five years worth $25 million; d) increased rice supply purchase agreements through the Public Law 480 of at least $20 million and General Services Manager 102 Program of at least $70 million, e) a proposed surplus equipment program of $50 million, extension service capacity building program of $25 million and accelerated liverstock genetic resource improvement program of $25 million.

• On defense cooperation, we will discuss military platform spares; radars; patrol crafts, ships, inshore vessels and gunboats; military education and training, rigid hull inflatable boars, radios, surveillance aircrafts, spare parts, radars, patrol crafts, ships and boats, training, radios, surveillance aircraft, among others worth about $458 million.

• On environmental protection, we are targeting at least $20 million from the Coral Triangle Initiative.

• On economic assistance, having been approved as a Compact country, the Philippines will produce a Compact proposal which may be eligible for a grant close to $700 million.

• I will thank those members of the US Senate who voted 96-1 to support our Philippine veterans who served valiantly in WWII. This strong vote is an indication of the long overdue desire to bring equity and justice to Filipino veterans who fought under the American flag. The Philippine veteran provision is part of a much larger bill. It is currently caught up in domestic US politics. While its immediate fate remains unknown, we will meet with congressional leaders to fight for passage to ensure equity for Philippine veterans of WWII. The Filipino veterans provision creates about $250 million in new benefits over 10 years.

• Finally, in New York we will meet with numerous investors and business leaders to promote more investment and job creation in the Philippines.

• We will meet with Target Sourcing which buys $70 million annually from the Philippines. Their new cosmetic care line in virgin coconut oil estimated at $25 million for 2008 will benefit 1,500 small and medium enterprises in Manila and Quezon.

• We expect a long term, 35-year supply contract with Libby's to earn over $500 million for more than 5,000 farming families in Bicol.

• We will meet with IQOR Call Center with annual billings earnings of $50 million in the Philippines, APAC Customer Services with $100 million. We will encourage them to expand their investment. Orbis Global Solutions will invest an initial 1,800 seats with billings of $20,000 per agent.

• We will meet with Bertaphil which will invest a minimum of $1 million in Clark and minimum guaranteed lease revenues of $919 thousand and additional 3-10% gross rental revenues from sublessees over a 50-year period.

• We will meet with ROTEC which will install $10 million of envirodiesel design device on initial 10,000 jeepneys to reduce greenhouse gases in Metro Manila.

• We will meet with Abundant Biofuels who will invest $200 million in Northern Mindanao.

• In our infrastructure meeting with investors and business leaders, we will promote 10 ready-to-go projects, six of which are valued at $1.377 billion.

• We will also be meeting with officials from the United Nations about issues related to food security and to champion the candidacy of Senator Santiago to the Court of Justice. No trip to New York is complete without meeting with our strong and lively OFW community there.

• The Philippine-US relationship is essential for a strong, growing and stable Philippines. We are looking forward to our talks in order to advance the interests of the Philippines and further deepen our historic ties.

• We will return via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal III for our arrival cum inspection of our newest gateway.

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CABATUAN AIRPORT - Timeline 2008