Philippines: Arroyo leaves for Equatorial Guinea Tuesday

Jun. 25, 2007

MANILA — Bilateral relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea are expected to be boosted with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos state visit to that West African nation on Tuesday.

The President proceeds to the Guinean capital of Malabo from Singapore where she addressed the opening ceremonies Sunday of the two-day World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2007 and made a one-day state visit Monday.

Her state visit to the oil-rich Equatorial Guinea is upon the invitation of President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo who made a four-day state visit to the Philippines in May 2006.

The President and her delegation are scheduled to leave Singapores Changi International Airport early Tuesday morning on board a chartered Philippine Airlines (PAL) plane. They are expected to arrive at the Malabo International Airport at 3 p.m. (Manila time)

In a statement released by Malaca?ang prior to her departure for Singapore Saturday afternoon, the President noted that relations between the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea grew with the state visit to the Philippines of President Mbasogo last year.

“We shall engage Equatorial Guinea bilaterally and multilaterally through mutual support of each others initiatives in the international community. Our countries have a shared agenda of defeating poverty through the New Asia-Africa Startegic Partnership (NAASP) and the United Nations,” she said.

She will be the first President of the Philippines to visit Equatorial Guinea.

Among the highlights of the Presidents visit are her speech at the Peoples Republic Chamber, a Leaders Meeting with President Mbasogo, signing of a joint communiqu?, and tour of the Campo Alba Oil Field Complex.

After the two leaders meeting, the President will be conferred the National Order of the Independence by the Equatorial Guinean government.

The Chief Executive will also have a meeting with the Filipino community there and visit the National Bank of Equatorial Guinea before flying back to Manila at 7 p.m. (3 a.m., Wednesday in Manila).

Equatorial Guinea, which gained independence from Spain in 1968, hosts some 2,500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stationed mostly in that countrys oil fields and construction sites. The Philippines recognized the African country on Nov. 28, 1968.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office of Middle East and African Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in Nigeria has administrative jurisdiction over Equatorial Guinea.

On the other hand, the Guinean Embassy in China has administrative jurisdiction over the Philippines.

The Philippines and Equatorial Guinea have at least four existing bilateral agreements signed in Manila in May 2006. These are:

a) General Agreement on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

b) Agreement on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments.

c) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Metropolitan Insurance Co. and Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, and

d) MOU between the University of Perpetual Help System and the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

In 1995, massive reserves of petroleum were discovered in Equatorial Guinea, and shortly thereafter, significant reserves of natural gas were also found in the country.

These findings have generated substantial revenue for Equatorial Guinea, which is diversifying its economy, modernizing its infrastructure, strengthening its public health system, and promoting education to build a strong foundation for the future of the country.

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