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Department of Foreign Affairs-updates

RP-US MDT and VFA Remain Vital to National Interest

Posted: 23 Sep 2009 03:53 AM PDT

PR-749-09, 23 September 2009—The DFA firmly believes that the RP-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty and the VFA remain important, useful and relevant, not only for Philippine national interest but also for regional peace, security and prosperity.

Benefits from the VFA have been substantial, most especially in the following areas:

• Modernization of the AFP. Ongoing assistance in this area remains critical considering that as a percentage of GDP, Philippine military expenditure is second to the lowest in Southeast Asia. The VFA permits the AFP to access new defense technologies, systems, equipment, best practices, and information that can be adapted to Philippine requirements. From 1999-2009, U.S. military and defense assistance amounted to US$429 million or on average PhP2 billion annually.

• Counter-terrorism and other non-traditional security threats. The Philippines has made positive contributions to global counter-terrorism efforts. The capture and neutralization of Abu Sayyaf Group leaders and members have been due in part to cooperation with the U.S.

• Civil-military and humanitarian action. The VFA directly benefits the Filipino people through civic and humanitarian projects involving medical services and the building of infrastructure, such as schools, wells, roads and bridges, in remote, conflict-affected and poor areas in the country. Disaster relief and other forms of assistance have also been extended by U.S. troops. Local communities have come out in support of the VFA.

• Paradigm for durable peace in Mindanao. U.S. support strengthens the Philippines strategy of using soft and hard power to build long-term peace and development in Mindanao.

The Philippines’ relationship with the United States in general, and its defense and security cooperation in particular, constitute a strategic partnership that is long-standing and mutually beneficial. With no other country does the Philippines have such deep and diversified ties.

Being the oldest democracy in Asia, the Philippines is proud of its independence and of the political and economic progress the country has achieved. As with anything hard-fought, the Department of Foreign Affairs is ever mindful that continued vigilance is required to protect the sovereignty, the freedom and the democracy we now enjoy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs respects the views of the Senate and will consider the comments and concerns they have expressed on the Visiting Forces
Agreement.

It is in response to the concerns raised that the Presidential Commission on the VFA (VFACOM), which is co-chaired by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of National Defense, will initiate a review of the VFA.

The VFACOM shall present in due time appropriate recommendations based on the results of the review. END

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UNDOF Commander Gen. Wolfgang Jilke calls on RP Embassy in Tel Aviv

Posted: 23 Sep 2009 03:11 AM PDT

PH-158-09,23 September 2009 – The Commander of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), Major General Wolfgang Jilke, called on Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia with other Embassy officials to discuss the preparations for the ongoing changeover of the Polish to Philippine peacekeeping contingent in the Golan Heights on October 22.

General Jilke personally delivered invitations to the ceremony to the embassy officials and Armed Forces of the Philippines. The ceremony will be held at Camp Ziouani on the Israeli side.

During the call, he stressed his policy of openness and transparency under his command of the UNDOF. He added that member nations are welcome to visit their respective forces at any time. He said that maintaining this policy adds up to the morale of the contingent in the Golan Heights.

The UNDOF was established through UN Security Council Resolution 350 (1974) and has served in the Golan Heights, the contentious border between Israel and Syria. END

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Statement of Secretary Alberto G. Romulo

Posted: 23 Sep 2009 01:02 AM PDT

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RP Embassy in Manama commemorates International Day of Democracy

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 10:45 PM PDT

PH-157-09,23 September 2009 – Pursuant to Proclamation 1620 and in support of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 62/7, the Philippine Embassy in Manama and members of the Filipino community commemorated the International Day of Democracy on September 15.

Representatives from the academe, religious organizations, youth and professional groups attended the event and shared their view on the topic “Ano ang Kahulugan at Kahalagahan ng Demokrasya Para sa Akin.” A choral rendition by Philippine Embassy personnel was also held during the program.

Ambassador Ma. Corazon Yap-Bahjin to Manama headed the celebration. END

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Consul General Cardenas opens Trade and Investment Workshop in Honolulu

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 10:18 PM PDT

PH-156-09, 23 September 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Consul General Leoncio R. Cardenas delivered the keynote address on “Doing Business in the Philippines,” a workshop organized by the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii on 19 September 2009.

Panelists at the workshop included Harold nd Rochele Macarthur on consultancy, Greg Yamanaka on renewable resources and ethanol production, Nelda Zulueta on outsourcing and Archie Gomez, DTI Trade Representative – LA on Philippine Trade and Investment. Honolulu County and City Mayor Muffi Hannemann delivered the closing remarks.

The workshop is geared to prepare and encourage participation to the 21st Trade Mission to the Philippines scheduled to be held from 6 to 21 November 2009.

The Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii has been conducting successful trade missions to the Philippines since 1989 and promoting two-way trade and investment between the Philippines and the State of Hawaii. END

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Philippine Bridges Featured in Singapore Stamps

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 06:15 PM PDT

PR-748-09, 23 September 2009 – The Singapore Postal Office, in collaboration with the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost), launched four limited edition postal stamps in Singapore this month which featured Philippine bridges.

The commemorative stamps were launched in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Singapore.

The bridge theme for the commemorative stamps was chosen because the bridges connects both countries symbolically, and is a popular theme amongst stamp collectors.

The Singapore Philatelic Museum worked closely with Philpost in implementing the project, which took almost a year to complete.

One of the two bridges featured is the Bamban Bridge in Pampanga, which links Mabalacat to Tarlac. Destroyed by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, the Bamban Bridge was rebuilt in 1998 and is one of the longest bridges in the world.

The second bridge featured is the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in Cebu City which connects Cebu and Mactan Islands. Opened in 1991, the bridge is named after the late Chief Justice and Senator Marcelo Fernan.

Two other stamps featuring Singapore bridges complete the commemorative issue. They depict the Henderson Waves Bridge and the Cavenagh Bridge.

The commemorative stamps can be ordered at SingPost’s online shopping portal vPost, at http://shop.vpost.com.sg.

The Singapore Philatec Museum is also preparing for a Philippine-themed stamp exhibit in October titled “Bayanihan: Spirit of the Philippines.” END

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DFA warns OFWs Against Text Scams in Austria

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 06:00 PM PDT

PR-747-09, 23 September 2009 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is warning the Filipino public against a text scam circulating in Austria and other countries.

The DFA discourages overseas Filipino workers from responding to messages claiming they had won a large amount of money in an electronic lottery or raffle.

The DFA learned that those who responded to the message were asked to transmit money as a requirement prior to receiving their so-called prizes. The money will be used supposedly to pay for taxes or remittance charges, or as donation.

The Philippine Embassy in Vienna reported that these scammers use public institutions such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), as well as the names of known public officials like the BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. and Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Sixto Esquivias, in order to lure unsuspecting victims.

A lady victim narrated to the Philippine Embassy how she had paid a fee of €4,000 (P 258,809.00) for the release of her prize, which was supposed to be settled through a remittance center (Western Union) to certain “Jerry Rivas Vidal” which turned out to be a fictitious identity. The scammers even asked for an additional P38,900 as donation as soon as the transfer has been made.

The DFA strongly advises Filipinos to be cautious of these malicious schemes and to not respond to such text messages to avoid becoming victims of these scams.

These scams are reported to the National Bureau of Investigation and National Telecommunication Commission for Investigation. END

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Peace Day Celebration in Chicago

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 05:45 PM PDT

PR-746-09, 23 September 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in participated in the 31st Anniversary of Peace Day Celebration at the Daley Center Plaza on September 18.

Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard Daley proclaimed September 7-21 Peace Days in the State of Illinois and in the City of Chicago honoring the original Peace Day as well as the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Peace Day has been observed annually since 7 September 1978. Its purpose is to bring focus and energy to aspects of peace building.

Cultural Officer Berth D. Salvador joined the members of the Chicago Consular Corps in special World Peace Flag Ceremony and the Call to Peace with each nation’s flag presented on stage while the prayer for peace is said for that country. Each flag-bearer carried one of the flags of the U.N. member countries. The Earth Flag concluded the ceremony to symbolize the unity of all humanity.

Every year, Peace Day has included One Minute of Silence for World Peace as well as musical performances. The Peace School, a non-profit organization, organizes the annual event in cooperation with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Special Events. END

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Call of Spanish Candidate for Ms. Earth 2009 on Philippine Ambassador Ugarte

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 05:30 PM PDT

PR-745-09, 23 September 2009 – Philippine Ambassador to Spain Ana I. de Sequera-Ugarte reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Ms. Alejandra Echevarría Pedrajas, the Spanish candidate for Ms. Earth 2009, paid a courtesy call on her at the Philippine Embassy in Madrid and at the same time applied for a Philippine visa.

Ms. Echevarría, a native of Jaen, Spain, will travel to the Philippines and participate in the 9th edition of the Ms. Earth beauty pageant which is scheduled to be held on November 22 at the Boracay Ecovillage Resort and Convention Center.

Said pageant is produced by Carousel Productions Inc. and was first launched in 2001 with the objective of becoming a beauty event whose raison d’etre is to have its candidates and winners actively promote and get involved in the preservation of the environment and the protection of Mother Earth.

Apart from a strong emphasis on environmental protection programs, Miss Earth also aims to showcase and promote various tourist destinations. Every year, 80 to 90 candidates from all over the world compete in said pageant. The winner of Miss Earth will serve as the Ambassador to environmental protection campaigns worldwide. END

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  • July 21, 1861: The First Battle of Bull Run
    In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the Confederacy could be crushed quickly and with little loss of life. In July, this overcon […]

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