IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH THE US AND CHINA – SGMA
28 November 2018 11:59:49 AM
Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has said being friends with both the United States and China is important to the Philippines.
In her keynote speech at the inauguration of the new building of the Bases Development and Conversion Authority (BCDA) in Clark Global City in Pampanga Tuesday, Speaker Arroyo said she sees no conflict being friends with the two super powers.
"We want Ambassador Sung to be here so that the American investors will be more high profile, so that the people will remember that America is a sheer friend of the Philippines. We are friends with China but being friends with China doesn’t mean that we are not friends with the United States. There is no conflict in friendship between two important friends.," she said.
In an ambush interview after the event, Speaker Arroyo explained, "(w)e can be friends with both. They are both very important to the world and to the region, and our friendship with them is very important to us, and their friendship with each other is also very important to us."
United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim was present during the inauguration together with Hungarian Ambassador to the Philippines József Bencze.
Speaker Arroyo expressed her appreciation for Kim's presence in the inauguration because it is a symbol of the Philippines' continuing friendship with the US. She also noted the big investments the US has made in Clark.
And we are very happy that Ambassador Sung is here together with our Hungarian Ambassador.....I am very proud of the American investments here. I am very proud that Texas Instruments is here, a billion dollar investment with three billion dollars in revenue. Also Michael Kors and many others," she noted.
Speaker Arroyo then invited Kim and Bencze to bring more investments to the Philippines saying there is plenty of room for both China and the US in the Philippines as far as putting in investments is concerned.
"So there’s plenty of room again for more investments and we hope that there would be a lot of new investments coming from the United States Ambassador, from Europe, Ambassador, and of course from our Philippine investors. We hope that more people know about the American investments and we also hope that more American investments will come, now that we have this beautiful Clark Global City and the New Clark City as well," she said.
Speaker Arroyo also lauded BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon for his strategic and effective leadership of the BCDA especially at a time when Clark becomes the centerpiece of President Duterte's economic development strategy which is to decentralize state offices in Metro Manila, solve the congestion problem in the capital and bring growth to the regions.
Speaker Arroyo said BCDA's transfer to the Clark Global City will enable it to closely monitor and supervise its big-ticket projects like the Clark International Airport and New Clark City.
"This will make the officials closer to the seat of the action, because they have two big ticket items coming up - the Clark Airport and the Clark City. So this has to be here because those are the major ticket items of BCDA. And then there is also the Southeast Asian Games. So it is perfect for BCDA to be here because the big things happening are all here" she stated.
Development of the New Clark City is in full swing. It will be a world-class community that will house the National Government Administrative Center and the state-of-the-art Athletics Stadium and Aquatics Center, to be used for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The ongoing expansion of the airport will increase passenger capacity by eight million per year from the current 4 million passenger capacity.
Speaker Arroyo also said a big Chinese industrial park and a Chinese Cultural Museum will also be built in the New Clark City as part of a framework agreement signed during the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines.
"So many things are happening here: the airport, the New Clark City, and also the Southeast Asian Games. So really, it’s a sign, it’s an acknowledgement of the major developments happening here in this area for the next year. From this year to next year," she said.