Speech of President Arroyo during a Dinner hosted by the Right Honourable John Cretien, Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Aline Chretien

Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Philippines
During a Dinner hosted by the Right Honourable John Cretien, Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Aline Chretien

[Delivered at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada, January 29, 2002]

Your Excellency the Right Honorable Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada; Les Membres distingues du Gouvernement Canadien; Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps; Colleagues in the Philippine Government; les representants de la Communaute Economique; members of the Filipino Community in Canada; Mes Amis, Mesdames et Messieurs:

Ma visite aujourd’hui de ce grand pays, le Canada, est bien une occasion propice pour renouer de fort liens amicaux et historiques. Depuis plus d’un siecle, nos relations temoignent d’un dynamisme croissant.

A ce propos, je suis reconnaisante au gouvernement Canadien pour sa gracieuse invitation et son Chaleureux Accueil.

Depuis plus d’un an, j’ai releve le defi d’assumer la presidence de mons pays dans un passage difficile. J’ai promis de restaurer la confiance du peuple philippin en son gouvernement, d’etablir une societe reellement democratique, et d’ameliorer la qualite de vie de chucun de ses membres. Je suis huereuse aujourd’hui de constater que nous sommes sur le point d’attaindre notre objectif. Malgre les problemes divers poses par la situation economique mondiale et ceux crees par l’onze Septembre.

The economic prosperity of Canada is remarkable. Information and communications technology or ICT, which I learned is centered in Ottawa, is one of the major reasons for this. I hope that Canada can share its expertise towards the development of the ICT sector in the Philippines.

Although the Philippines was not spared from the effects of the global trends of 2001, we gained resiliency through maintaining economic fundamentals while pump-priming domestic demand. As a result, our GDP growth of 3.4 percent and GNP growth of 3.7 percent was among the highest in the world.

Our country’s growth relies on investments. This is where we look towards Canada and the international business community to spur the Philippine economy and to contribute to its long-term stability and security. And Mr. Prime Minister, I know that many Filipinos have investments in Canada, they have even residences in Canada. So it’s a two-way street.

Trade and investment between our two countries can and must be developed further. Canadian businesses can continue to take advantage of the best of both worlds — knowledge from Canada and capital from Canada and skilled human resources from the Philippines, the home of the great Filipino worker.

Stronger partnerships will make Canadian companies more profitable, while giving our country the benefit of high technology and greater economic activity.

Thus I have extended an invitation to His Excellency the Prime Minister to visit the Philippines in the near future and lead another team Canada mission, similar to those he led in 1995 and 1997.

There is no better proof of the skills of the great Filipino worker than the contributions of Filipino migrants to Canada. This wonderful country is the adopted home of, as His Excellency said, some 320,000 Filipinos who have either taken up citizenship or residency in Canada. We are proud of Rey and we are proud that many other Filipinos have contributed to the well-being, cultural diversity, and economic prosperity of this great country.

Our meetings today reinforced the excellent relations that have existed between our two countries since that historical point mention by his Excellency when Sunlife assurance of Canada established a branch in Manila in 1895.

It is always a great honor and privilege therefore for Filipinos and Filipino leaders like me to be in the company of our Canadian friends, and strengthening a friendship that began more than a century ago and that without doubt, will continue for many centuries more.

Allow me also to express the gratitude of all Filipinos for the continued assistance the Philippines receives from Canada. Through CIDA, Canada continues to be a partner in our development efforts through projects pursued in tandem with both government and the private sector.

Tomorrow, after meeting the business community in Ottawa and Toronto, and after meeting the Filipino community in Toronto, we shall leave Canada confident that the goodwill between Canadians and Filipinos is steadfast and secure.

In the spirit of friendship then, I ask you all to join me in a toast to the government and people of Canada, to the enduring bonds between the Canadian and Filipino people, to his Excellency the Prime Minister and Madame Chretien.

Source: www.op.gov.ph

Macapagal-Arroyo, G. (2002). PGMA’s Speech during a Dinner hosted by the Right Honourable John Cretien, Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Aline Chretien. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20100412231007/http://www.op.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7588&Itemid=38