Philippines’s Arroyo off to Japan

May. 22, 2007

PGMA’s departure statement (On her visit to Japan, May 22-25, 2007)

Philippine democracy has been renewed after a vigorous by-election. Now it is time to come together to forge a common path forward together among all parties and all political leaders here at home. Even as the national election is still being canvassed, the outcome of the local elections strengthens our nation’s collective resolve to create a modern, booming society through pro-growth, pro-poor, and pro-modernization policies.

Our foreign relations play a vital role in a strong Philippines. An essential component of a modern vision for the Philippines is our continued open engagement with the region and the world. We need to be competitive at home. We need to compete for investments abroad if we are to succeed.

Our trip to Japan is another step in our quest to further cement our ties and bring more investments, economic growth and peace and stability to our nation.

Just a few weeks ago, we announced that after a lot of hard work on the part of our government, Texas Instruments will make a billion-dollar investment in the Philippines. Tokyo Electric and Marubeni are also making a four-billion dollar investment, the largest Japanese investment in Philippine history. Their investment in the Philippines is no mistake: the world is sitting up and taking notice that the Philippines is back and open for business. Our economy and gains against poverty are proof the plan is working.

On this trip to Japan, we will be meeting with business and financial leaders from around the region to again tell the Philippine story and encourage them that the Philippine turnaround is here to stay, that our politics has stabilities and that we are the best value in Asia.

Japan plays a pivotal role in bringing peace, stability and economic opportunity to the conflict in Mindanao. Prime Minister Abe is playing an instrumental role in nurturing the peace process. One aim of my trip is to advance peace in Mindanao by engaging with our regional partners in the peace process.

No trip abroad to meet with foreign leaders is complete without continuing vigilance in the pursuit of regional security, stability and peace. The ongoing concerns about North Korea’s nuclear capability and the existing danger of global terrorism remain front and center. Plans for improved coordination and cooperation will be discussed along with our shared economic agenda.

Finally, we want to send a clear message to our Japanese friends and hosts that relations between the Philippines and Japan have never been stronger. We hope we make advances on closer economic ties and continue to build on the warm ties that bind our relations with Japan, not just in the Philippines but in the ASEAN region and the world.

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