Top U.S. business leaders arrive; meeting with Aquino set today

Wednesday / January 23, 2013



Former US Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte, leading a group of investors and businessmen, arrived in Manila on Monday night to look for investment opportunities in the country.


Negroponte’s group that flew in aboard an All Nippon Airlines flight from Tokyo is scheduled to meet with President Aquino on Wednesday at Malacañang.


With Negroponte are America’s top business executives from Citigroup, Chevron, Coca-Cola, General Electric, JPMorgan Chase, Procter & Gamble, Peregrine Development International, CV Starr & Co., US Education Finance Group, McLarty & Associates, Federal Express and Spence & Co.


“It’s always a pleasure to be back in the Philippines, where the last visit I had was in 2008 after I left government service,” he told reporters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.


Negroponte, co-chairman of the US-Philippines Society, said that they were hoping to see on Wednesday Mr. Aquino and members of the US-Philippines Society, “where we are trying to promote a good US-Philippine relationship.”


In a statement from Washington on Monday, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said that the delegation will call on the President and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and later join a policy forum with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo.


The forum, according to Cuisia, will also see two other former US ambassadors to Manila—Thomas Hubbard and Richard Murphy—who will discuss the strategic environment in the region and the outlook for policy directions as the second term of President Barack Obama begins.


Negroponte is also a research fellow and lecturer in international affairs at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and had served as the deputy secretary of State and was the first director of National Intelligence.


He served too in the US Foreign Service from 1960 to 1997. From 1981 to 1996, Negroponte  was US ambassador to Honduras, Mexico and the Philippines.


After leaving the Foreign Service, he served in the Bush administration as US Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2004, and later as ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005.


The US-Philippines Society, which is headed by John  Maisto, was behind the Washington, D.C., gala in honor of Mr.  Aquino during his US state visit in 2012. It is a non-profit organization that helps raise the Philippines’s profile in the US.


Negroponte, Hubbard and Murphy will also participate in a dialogue with business leaders organized by the Makati Business Club.


A prominent member of the US-Philippines Society who is expected to join the Negroponte group during the courtesy call to Malacañang is the society’s Philippine chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan.


Honorary chairmen of the US-Philippines Society include Washington Z. Sycip and Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. Founding board members are Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corp., Ambassador Roberto R. Romulo, Thomas Hubbard of McLarty Associates, Robert A. McDonald of Procter & Gamble, Melody Meyer of Chevron, Cirilo P. Noel of SGV, Enrique K. Razon Jr. of ICTSI, Aurelio Montinola III of Bank of the Philippine Islands, Dennis Wright of Peregrine, Jay Collins of Citigroup and Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments. Board members at present include Ramon del Rosario Jr. of Phinma, Doris Magsaysay-Ho of Magsaysay Shipping, Henry Howard of US Education Finance Group and Loida Nicolas Lewis of TLC Beatrice.



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