Aquino off to New Zealand, Australia on Sunday

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Friday, October 19, 2012


MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III is set to leave on Sunday night for a back-to-back state visits in New Zealand and Australia.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President will be in the New Zealand on October 22 to 23 and will proceed to Australia on October 24 to 26.

Aquino's state visits were upon the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Valte said Aquino will be meeting the Filipino community and business groups in the two countries.

"The first stop of the President will be in Auckland. He will be meeting with the Filipino community there. He will also deliver a speech in a business forum to be attended by the Philippines New Zealand Business Council as well as the New Zealand Philippines Business Council. There will also be one-on-one meetings with some New Zealand corporations," Valte added.

The President will also visit Wellington, which is the capital of New Zealand, and Canberra, where he is set to meet with the Prime Minister Key and New Zealand's Governor General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Valte said the two officials are expected to discuss recent developments in the country, particularly the signing of the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as well as matters of political, economic, defense and development fields.

In Sydney, Australia, President Aquino will be meeting with Prime Minister Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

Aquino will deliver a keynote address before the Philippines-Australia Business Forum, where he will have an opportunity to met top business executives in a round table setting, according to Valte.

He will also have one-on-one meetings with several Australian companies.

The President will also deliver a speech in Asia Society of Australia and the Australia Philippine Business Council.

From Sydney, President Aquino will proceed to Campbelltown where he will unveil a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal and will meet the Filipino community.

Valte said there are 36,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand while some 224,000 Filipinos in Australia.

Included in the official delegation of the President are Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, National Economic and Development Authority chief Arsenio Balisacan, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang.

Because of Aquino's trip to New Zealand on Sunday, Valte said Vice President Jejomar Binay will represent the President in the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in Rome, Italy, on same day.
Energy Secretary Rene Almendras will also be present in the event.

Aquino earlier declared October 21 as a national holiday to celebrate the canonization of second Filipino Saint and honor his life and martyrdom. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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