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Department of Foreign Affairs-12Nov2009-updates

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Visits Manila

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 04:08 AM PST

DFA SECRETARY ROMULO AND U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON AFFIRM RP-U.S. PARTNERSHIP

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 02:45 AM PST

12 November 2009 – Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo met with his U.S. counterpart Secretary Hillary R. Clinton today in Manila.

Secretary Romulo was joined in the meeting by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Willy Gaa and other Department of Foreign Affairs senior officials.

Secretary Clinton’s delegation included Ambassador Kristie Kenney and other U.S. officials.

In their meeting, the two Secretaries noted the progress in the overall relations and affirmed the multi-faceted RP-U.S. partnership which is founded on shared values, especially a commitment to freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Foremost in the agenda was a discussion on the situation in the wake of the typhoons which devastated many parts of the Philippines.

“I thank the U.S. government for the immediate and significant assistance extended to the victims of the typhoon. Secretary Clinton expressed her solidarity with the Filipino people and confirmed the continued assistance of the U.S. Government not just in relief but also in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts” Secretary Romulo said.

The GRP-MILF peace process, which has shown promising progress of late, was also of special interest to the Foreign Secretaries. Through poverty alleviation and development programs implemented mostly by the USAID, the United States has been a strong supporter of peace, security and prosperity in Mindanao.

Both sides also acknowledged the strategic importance of RP-U.S. defense and security cooperation to regional peace and security.

During discussions on how to further enhance bilateral relations, Secretary Romulo expressed confidence that the Philippines would be able to reach an agreement soon on a Compact partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). In this respect, Secretary Clinton was hopeful that the MCC will reselect the Philippines as Compact eligible in December in recognition of the work that has been done.

The two Secretaries had a meaningful exchange on regional and global issues of mutual interest, such as ASEAN-U.S. relations, climate change, and nuclear-non-proliferation.

The Philippines’ role as Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue relations was highlighted especially in relation to the holding of the first ever ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting in Singapore on November 15. Likewise, the Philippines’ significant responsibility and leadership of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010 was recognized. END

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SECRETARY ROMULO BATS FOR STRONG HRD PROGRAMME IN APEC

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 12:49 AM PST

12 November 2009 – In Singapore for the 21st Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) Ministers, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo came out strongly in favor of developing human capital through education reform. He stressed that such a direction should lead towards the provision of opportunities across all sectors of society and that education must be responsive to industry needs. He said that it must be able to provide the necessary skills, workforces and competitiveness that allow meaningful participation in a more integrated economy.

Speaking before some 40 other Ministers holding the foreign affairs and trade portfolios of the 21 member economies of APEC, Secretary Romulo took his turn at the retreat of the Ministers and recalled the clarion call of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the APEC Economic Leaders in Peru last year for APEC to take the necessary actions to offer hope to those most adversely affected by the economic crisis. He noted that in the Philippines this was being concretely pursued through the country’s Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP) which provides conditional cash transfer for the poorest of the poor and the establishment of retraining and retooling programs for retrenched workers.

Noting that APEC had adopted an inclusive growth strategy in line with its avowed goal of shared prosperity in the Asia Pacific region, Secretary Romulo hailed APEC as being in the best position to contribute to the promotion of global economic recovery and sustainable growth for all.

He also emphasized that to achieve the necessary reforms in education and capacity building, adequate resources must be allocated for the purpose, including the provision of a sustainable access to credit. An ideal environment, one that spurs entrepreneurial Innovation, he further noted, is critical to developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which in turn form the backbone of many APEC economies.

Secretary Romulo also tasked APEC to focus on the issue of labor mobility, as a prerequisite to the achievement of greater labor market flexibility. But more importantly, he noted, there is an urgent need to provide a level playing field where developing countries can compete in the global trading system and effectively exploit the opportunities the system provides.

The 21st APEC Ministerial Meeting is the precursor meeting to the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) to be held over the weekend at which President Macapagal Arroyo will join other APEC leaders in a retreat where issues are discussed in a frank and open manner. The Leaders will also take the opportunity to hold a dialogue with the business leaders of the region, another regular feature of the APEC process. The theme for the weeklong series of meetings is “Sustaining Growth, Connecting the Region.”

Secretary Romulo’s call found favor with other delegations, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand, which echoed his appeal. The United States, in particular, promised support for education and human resources development projects. END

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