Tag Archives: Goldberg

US upbeat on peace process

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — United States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said his government continues to support the peace process and the creation of the proposed Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

Goldberg, who visited the city on Thursday, said they are upbeat with the prospects of the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, especially with the recent strides that came with the signing of the final peace agreement in March.

“From an international perspective and from a US perspective, we’re hopeful that the peace agreement will lead to better things, (especially) to the lives of the people (of Mindanao),” he said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.

He said they expect that it would also bring more opportunities and chances to develop the “great resources of Mindanao, including agriculture and mining.”

Goldberg expressed support to the establishment of a new Bangsamoro region, which is the centerpiece of the House Bill 4994 or the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg visits General Santos City Thursday, November 13, and is being welcomed by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (extreme right), Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles (2nd from left), and Councilor Mario Empal (3rd from left). (Gensan CPIO/ Russell Delvo)
US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg visits General Santos City Thursday, November 13, and is being welcomed by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (extreme right), Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles (2nd from left), and Councilor Mario Empal (3rd from left). (Gensan CPIO/ Russell Delvo)

The BBL will specifically give way to the establishment of a new autonomous political entity, the Bangsamoro government, to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee has been conducting public consultations in parts of Mindanao for the BBL, which it targets to pass before the end of the year.

In terms of peace and order, Goldberg assured that the US will continue to provide support to the government in terms of resolving the lingering security problems in parts of the island, especially the threats posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“We support the government’s efforts to try to end these threats — the kidnappings, the violence,” he said.

During his brief swing here, Goldberg met with City Mayor Ronnel Rivera and leaders of the city’s business sector.

He also met with South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council of Region 12.

The US Ambassador visited the city’s fishport complex in Barangay Tambler and briefly observed its operations.

“It was interesting to see the ships offloading and to see the actual cutting of tuna,” he said.

“It’s (tuna) a huge, probably the most important industry in GenSan and as part of the Philippines,” Goldberg added.

The US is one of the top export destinations of the country’s fresh, chilled and canned tuna, which are mainly produced in this city.

Dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” the city hosts six of the country’s tuna canneries and ancillary industries that generate around US$ 350 million in export receipts annually.(AE)

Touching base – Rivera describes US envoy visit

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Meeting up with local government officials and businessmen.

This was how General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera described the visit today of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (middle) at the city hall.Pic by Edwin Espejo
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (middle) at the city hall.Pic by Edwin Espejo

Goldberg arrived here on board a US embassy airplane and quickly proceeded to the General Santos City Fish Port Complex before making a courtesy call to the office of the city mayor.

The 30-minute meeting was off limits to the media with only Mayor Rivera, Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas, City Administrator Arnel Zapatos and City Legal Officer Armand Clarin holding conference with Glodberg and 3 other embassy officials.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (in blue shirt) holds a closed door meting with Mayor Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas (left).Pic by Edwin Espejo
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (in blue shirt) holds a closed door meting with Mayor Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas (left).Pic by Edwin Espejo

He did not field questions from the media who waited at the city hall lobby.

“The ambassador wanted to personally see General Santos City after reading and hearing about our place,” the city mayor said.

Rivera said the visit was also a result of an invitation he extended to the US Ambassador when they were introduced together at a function of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry several months ago.

Goldberg also had a luncheon meeting with members of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Greenleaf Hotel.

He later told the local station of ABS-CBN that the US is upbeat on the potential of Mindanao in agriculture and mining but also expressed concerns over delays and obstacles in obtaining licenses and permits for mining companies.

The US ambassador likewise said grants and aids from the American government are now geared towards areas in Mindanao recovering from armed conflict.

“In a way,” banker Orman Manansala said, “we have become victim of our own success.”

General Santos was recipient of one of the largest grants from the US government by way of funding the construction of the city’s airport facilities.

It was part of the international pledging session during the early years of the Cory Aquino administration.

Construction of the airport began in 1993 and was finished in 1996.

Built at the cost of US$47.6 million largely funded by USAID, it was inaugurated for commercial flights shortly thereafter.