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25/01/2013: Top Tier Philippine and US Businessmen Express Support for the President’s Good Governance Agenda

24 January 2013 - A powerhouse delegation composed of business and industry leaders from the Philippines and the US, led by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Chair Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan and former US Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte, co-chairs of the US-Philippines Society, called on President Benigno S. Aquino III on January 23 at Malacañan Palace.

In his remarks, the President highlighted the positive economic climate in the Philippines. Citing the 6.5% average gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first three quarters of 2012, the stock market’s rise to possibly breach 6500 by February, and consistent rise in credit ratings, the President invited the delegation members to share the good news to the business community in the US.

Ambassador Negroponte noted that “there has been tremendous growth since I was last here; the Society is committed to enhancing the image of the Philippines as an investment destination.”

A fire-side chat moderated by Secretary of the Cabinet Rene Almendras drew questions and reactions from the delegation on topics such as Public Private Partnership, business process outsourcing, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Philippines’ gains on anti-corruption and inclusive growth, the cornerstone of the good governance agenda.

Medicare portability (allowing Medicare beneficiaries to seek services outside of the US) was discussed. Secretary del Rosario pointed out that Society was well-placed to help secure crucial support from US Legislators. Ambassador Negroponte, noting that a breakthrough on the limitations set in Medicare would be a tremendous help for US retirees, agreed. He proposed Medical portability as an issue for the Society’s Board to strategize on. Should Medicare portability be given a green light by the US Congress, there is a potential windfall for healthcare professionals and internationally accredited facilities in the Philippines through medical tourism, and in enhancing the Philippines as a retirement destination.

The President was joined by Secretaries Albert del Rosario (Foreign Affairs), Cesar Purisima (Finance), Secretary Gregory Domingo (Trade and Industry) and Rene Almendras and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia.

The Society’s delegation included former Ambassador Roberto R. Romulo and former US Ambassadors Thomas C. Hubbard, Richard W. Murphy and Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto, as well as executives of US and Philippine companies: Washington Z. Sycip (SGV, Honorary Chair), Maurice “Hank” Greenberg (CV Starr & Co., Honorary Chair), Mr. Ramon del Rosario (PHINMA), Mr. Stuart Dean and Mr. Jocot de Dios (General Electric), Ms. Therese M. Esperdy (JP Morgan Chase), Mr. Henry B. Howard (US Education Finance Group), Ms. Doris Magsaysay-Ho (Magsaysay Shipping), Mr. Sumeet Vohra (Procter & Gamble Philippines), Ms. Melody Meyer and Peter Eggleston (Chevron), Atty. Cirilo Noel (SGV), Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Prime Holdings), Mr. Dennis Wright (Peregrine Development International), Atty. Leonardo Canseco (US-PHL Society Legal Counsel), Mr. Sanjiv Vohra (Citibank) and Mr. George Sycip (Alliance Select Foods International Inc.). Ms. Carla Hills (AIM), Mr. Roderick Hills (AIM), Ambassador Carmelita Salas, Dr. Jorge Garcia and Ms. Karen Reddington (FedEx) also joined the group as special guests of the Society.

The US-Philippines Society was formally launched on 7 June 2012 during the official visit of President Aquino to Washington DC. It is a non-profit private sector initiative designed to encourage economic ties, promote trade and investment, support bilateral strategic goals; and enhance and expand cultural, economic and people-to-people linkages. END

Press Release from the Department of Foreign Affairs