Government to spend P44-M for Aquino's Australia, New Zealand trips-A A +A
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE government is spending P44 million for President Benigno Aquino III's state visits to New Zealand and Australia from October 22 to 26.
Aquino left Sunday night for his first stop, New Zealand, where he will stay until October 23 upon the invitation of Prime Minister John Key.
The President will proceed to Australia from October 24 to 26 where he is expected to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Aquino will be accompanied by a 96-member Philippine delegation that will include Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and PCDSPO Secretary Ramon Carandang.
Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia Benavidez and Philippine Ambassador to Australia Belen Anota will also join the President's official party.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said the estimated expenses for Aquino's New Zealand and Australia trip cover charter lease, accommodation, transportation, food and equipment, among others, of the entire presidential delegation.
Ochoa said the President hopes to further boost and strengthen the political, economic and defense ties between the Philippines and New Zealand, as well as cultivate deeper cooperation between Manila and Canberra.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Aquino will deliver a speech in Auckland during a business forum and later meet with the Filipino community. Some 36,000 Filipinos are living in New Zealand, representing about one percent of the total population of the country.
The President's next stop is Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, where he will meet Key and Government-General Sir Jerry Mateparae to discuss various issues of mutual concerns, including regional and international developments.
In Australia, the DFA said Aquino will meet Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra to discuss developments in the two countries' political, economic and defense cooperation.
After his meeting with the Australian leader, the President will proceed to Sydney where he is scheduled to address the Philippines-Australia Business Forum, the Asia Society of Australia, and the Australia Philippine Business Council, and top business leaders.
The Chief Executive is also scheduled to unveil a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal in Campbelltown and interact with members of the Filipino community in Sydney. Australia is home to 224,000 Filipinos. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)