CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Even if China will not participate in the international tribunal brought by the Philippines to settle their maritime dispute in the Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea), the Philippines is bent on pursuing the arbitration.
And even if Asean countries ask the Philippines to “slow down” in its claim, the Philippines has no plans to do so.
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. told a Kapihan hosted by Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim of the Philippine Consulate of the Midwest held in the new office of the Consulate in Chicago, Illinois April 25 that under the mechanism that the Philippine government lawyers have chosen to file a claim, China doesn’t have to be present.
But China is going to be given one more chance to participate when all the members of the arbitral tribunal are appointed this April “and we will give them the opportunity to participate.”
Cuisia said, “Even if China refuses to participate, it (China) will probably start (to make) its decision in a few months time and it (this non-participation) will shorten process. We want to proceed with and pursue the code of conduct. And we are not prepared to withdraw our claim.
“ASEAN is trying to slow down our claim and we are not willing to do that and we will pursue and participate actively in discussion on code of conduct. We want to have good relations (with China). But we cannot allow them to continue to violate our territory. They have three vessels in Scarborough shoals which is within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines.”
Ambassador Cuisia added, “we have tried diplomatic, political means thru Asean but we are not getting anywhere that is why the Philippines was forced to file the claim before an international arbitral body.”
CHICAGO LEG OF THE ROADSHOW
Ambassador Cuisia is in Chicago at the head of a powerhouse delegation that is luring more investments from American and Filipino American businessmen to seriously consider putting their money in the Philippines. The trip is dubbed as 2nd Philippine Investment Roadshow organized by the Philippine Embassy with the Philippine Consulates Generals in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Thursday’s Kapihan was the Chicago leg of the roadshow attended by select community leaders and members of the media.
“We are confident that more investments from the US will be coming in, especially after we heard the enthusiastic response of not only American corporate and government executives but also Filipino-American businessmen in the West Coast who listened to us share the good news about the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said at the end the delegation’s visit to Chicago.
The business delegation, which is headed by Ambassador Cuisia and prominent Filipino economist Dr. Bernardo Villegas, will head off to Boston as part of a private sector-led effort to promote the Philippines as an investment destination.
Aside from Ambassador Cuisia and Dr. Villegas, the other members of the delegation are Benjamin Philip Romualdez, President of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines; Isidro Consunji, President of DMCI Holdings; Roberto Dispo, President of First Metro Investment Corp.; Rainerio Borja, President and Country Head of EGS Philippines; Dan Lachica, President of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. and Jesus Zulueta, Jr., Chairman of ZMG Ward Howell.
ROADSHOW TO IMPROVE TRADE TIES WITH U.S.
Ambassador Cuisia said he expects the roadshow to further improve trade with the US, the country’s third largest partner as he cited statistics from the US Trade Representative which pointed to growing two-way trade between the two countries—from $13 billion in 2009 to $15 billion in 2010; and $22 billion in 2011.
On Tuesday, the delegation met with around 130 representatives from a number of US and Filipino-American companies in a forum organized by the Council on Trade and Investment for Filipino-Americans and the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County.
On Monday, the delegation met with officials of the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and University of California Los Angeles Smart Grid Energy Research Center. They also attended the Town Hall Meeting or Pulong Bayan with Filipino Community organizations led by the Filipino-American Chambers of Commerce and the emerging generation of Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles.
According to Consul General Hellen Barber-Dela Vega of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, the delegation launched the roadshow in Los Angeles because of its role as the primary gateway of the Philippines for trade with the US since 1992. She said Los Angeles handles 25 percent of total US trade with the Philippines, which is also its 16th largest trading partner.
Consul General Barber-Dela Vega said that in all their meetings, the delegation urged American and Filipino-American businessmen to seriously consider investing in the Philippines, which is now considered as the “Rising Tiger of Asia.” They cited the positive economic indicators in the country that have been made possible by government’s efforts to increase infrastructure spending, achieve fiscal sustainability and fight corruption, among others.
Consul General Barber-Dela Vega said the delegation will stay in Chicago until Thursday before proceeding to Boston for the last leg of the roadshow.
COMMUNITY: This is part of the community who attended the Kapihan at the Philippine Consulate General of the Midwest in Chicago, Illinois last April 25 while Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim (left) and Roberto J. T. Dispo, President of First Metro Investment of Makati, look on. Photo shows Mr. Joe Mauricio (left foreground), of Via Times and CPR TV. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)