Tourism Continues To Lift

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is hoping to exceed its forecast 4.5 million tourists this year due to continued increased of number of tourists entering the country that reached 15% gross over the past few months.

It is proudly said by DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez in the debut held in duty free shop stores at NAIA Terminal 1 yesterday.

Additionally, Korea is still the largest source of tourists who are coming to the Philippines and followed it by the United States and Japan, “But the Asean is the largest already, they are our neighbors.”

Japan To Give 12 Boats to The Philippine Coast Guard

Department of Foreign Affairs said that The Philippines and Japan have agreed to further improve their joint cooperation on “shared regional strategic concerns,” including maritime security. This developed following Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s meetings with his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba, and Deputy Prime Minister Katsura Okada during the DFA head’s official visit to Tokyo last week.

In Philippine Daily Inquirer, Del Rosario said that aside from the United States, three other countries – Japan, South Korea and Australia – were helping the Philippines establish a minimum reliable defense posture to complement its diplomatic capacity in dealing with its territorial disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China). He revealed that the Tokyo government would likely provide the Philippine Coast Guard with 12 patrol boats. “They’re considering 10 40-meter boats on official development aid and two larger ones as grants,” said Del Rosario.

The foreign office said “the two ministers engaged in comprehensive discussions reviewing key aspects of relations and affirmed their respective governments’ commitments to advancing the multifaceted bilateral relations on the two countries’ shared values and long history of cooperation.”

DFA added that “Talks centered on the enhancement of political dialogue, economic cooperation, official development assistance, and business-to-business and people-to-people ties, as well as on the furtherance of bilateral cooperation on shared regional strategic concerns, including maritime safety and disaster risk reduction”. However, the foreign office did not provide details about the two officials’ dialogue on maritime security-related matters.

The head of the embassy’s chancery, Minister Shinsuke Shimizu told this paper Tokyo would continue to help the Coast Guard deal with its maritime safety and law enforcement concerns. However, Shimizu clarified “it is of different nature from establishing the minimum credible defense capabilities” of the Philippines. “Nor is it aimed at addressing a specific regional situation,” said the diplomat. He was apparently referring to the Scarborough Shoal dispute between Manila and Beijing. He noted that “since 1990, Japan has been helping the Coast Guard in its capacity-building program.”

Pokwang’s Lovelife

MANILA, Philippines – Pokwang revealed that her relationship with her American boyfriend is on the rocks.

“Nasa level kami ngayon nang hindi kami muna nag-uusap,” Pokwang told “SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon.”

She admitted that her job was among the reasons they have grown apart. “Kasi hindi nya naiintindihan ang trabaho ko.”

“Nag- I- Love-You-han na kami kaya lang… kinulang lang siguro ng tiwala sa isa’t isa. Kasi may naririnig din ako. May nakakita sa kanya doon, mga kakilala namin, sa isang bar, may kasamang girlalet…Tapos dumagdag pa ‘yong sa trabaho ko. May mga text siya kapag hindi ako agad nakakapag-reply,” she said.

She also confessed that the distance took a toll on their relationship. “Hindi ninyo nakikita ang isa’t isa. Tapos ‘yon nga, kung ano-ano ‘yong mga iniisip.”

She also said in jest: “Sayang ang lahi niya. Blue eyes pa naman siya. Pangarap ko ‘yon.” -Report by Marchie Mallari,

China shuts down hacker training operation

BEIJING—Police in central China have shut down a hacker training company that taught thousands of people how to launch cyberattacks and provided them with spy software, media reports said Monday.

The reports come amid growing accusations of organized computer hacking originating from China that has chilled ties with the United States, and follow Google’s threat last month to quit the Chinese market over cyberattacks.

Police in Hubei province shut down Black Hawk Safety Net and arrested three people, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, calling the operation China’s “biggest hacker training website.”

Read More>>

RP to prepare regional plan

SINGAPORE — The Philippines was tapped by leaders of Southeast Asia and the United States to prepare a new five-year cooperation plan covering trade, labor mobility, cultural exchange and others following their first-ever meeting yesterday.

The move reflected Washington’s policy shift toward a more active involvement in the region, marked by a decision to engage members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) without treating countries like Myanmar as outcasts.

A statement was issued following the first meeting between a US president and heads of all 10 ASEAN countries, calling for “broader and deeper” cooperation and enhanced economic cooperation, particularly in easing customs procedures. They agreed to hold a second meeting next year.

Read More>>

Remittances up 13% to $16b in 2008

Foreign exchange remittances from Filipino expatriates surged in 2008 despite the global economic crisis.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that remittances through banks and other official channels reached $16.43 billion last year, up 13.7 percent from $14.45 billion in 2007, when they grew 13.2 percent from the 2006 level.

The major sources of remittances in 2008 were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, UK, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

In December, remittances scaled to $1.40 billion, compared with $1.30 billion in November and with $1.397 billion in December 2007. [Read full article...]

GMA talks tough in Davos

President Gloria Arroyo said the United States must take the lead role in reversing the global recession and developed nations must give developing countries more voice in running the world economy.

“What we want is for America to do something because the last thing we want is for America to do nothing. It may be vague on what should be done, but the worst thing is for [America] not to do anything,” President Arroyo said during a plenary session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday.

Read more..