NEW YORK – President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to arrive in New York on Sept. 22, the Philippine Daily Mirror has learned. After a four-nation tour of Europe, visiting Spain, Belgium and Germany, he will proceed to Boston, Massachusetts on the evening of September 20 from Berlin.
“As in all of the President’s trips abroad, primary objectives of the visit will be to continue to project the Philippines as an emerging economy and investment destination in Asia; to promote the country as having an economy with sound credentials built on the back of good governance principles; and to highlight the country’s role as an archipelagic and maritime nation with key advocacies in maritime security, maritime safety, promotion and growth of the blue economy and sustainable development,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Andrelita Austria said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.
In Spain, where he made his first stop over, Aquino met with the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at Palacio de la Moncloa in Madrid. He expressed the country’s gratitude for Spain’s support for the Mindanao peace plan. During their meeting, according to a news source, Aquino told the prime minister that “he valued the insights on the existing Autonomous Communities in Spain gained through the study visits of our delegates to your country.” “This will help our government officials and legislators who will be involved in the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity,” the President added.
President Aquino said he “hope that Spain will continue to be our partner in the development of Mindanao.”
Following the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which was signed on March 27 this year, the Bangsamoro Basic Law was submitted to Congress before Aquino left for the European trip. On September 10, President Aquino turned over the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
In Belgium, where Aquino traveled next, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission (EC), welcomed Aquino on his historical visit here, which marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Philippine embassy in Belgium – also a reason to celebrate the long-standing relations between the EU and the Philippines. Barroso complemented Aquino’s government in bringing peace and development in Mindanao and for this effort he assured Aquino of EU’s assistance worth 106 million euros through various development projects.
From Berlin, Aquino is expected to arrive in Boston, Massachusetts on the evening of September 20. While there, he will visit his parent’s friends and meet with some scholars of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship Foundation at the Boston College where a short program will be held in his honor on September 21. Aquino spent many years in Boston while his father, “Ninoy,” was exiled during martial law.
In response to an earlier invitation, President Aquino will also meet with Representative Joseph Kennedy III (4th District, MA), who visited the Philippines recently and invited Aquino for a meeting. Later in the afternoon, Aquino will speak to executives of three big American companies, which will be followed by an interview with the National Public Radio station.
Austria also said that Aquino will deliver a policy speech at the Kennedy School of Government at the Harvard University before leaving for New York.
In New York, the President will have a series of media interviews with major print and television companies before he joins other world leaders for the United Nations Climate Change Summit at the UN. According to his itinerary, Aquino will attend a reception with members of the Filipino American community.
Following his meeting with world leaders, he will have a business round table with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the US-Asean Business Council and the US-Philippine Society. Later in the afternoon, Aquino will speak at the World Leaders Forum of Columbia University and meet with the media.
Aquino is scheduled to depart New York for San Francisco on September 24 to meet with officials of two big business companies based in California.
“This was supposedly only a technical stop but we have had requests from big business companies to meet with the President. So we have arranged for at least two business meetings in San Francisco,” Austria said.
He then leaves for Manila and and is expected to arrive on the evening of Thursday, September 25.