(Lead) Bilateral talks with leaders top Aquino's agenda in New Zealan, Australia Oct 22-26

October 19, 2012 10:27 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 19 — Meetings with state leaders, business executives, and the Filipino community top President Benigno S. Aquino III’s agenda during his week-long state visits to New Zealand and Australia from October 22 to 26, Malacañang said Friday.

Both trips are particularly aimed at developing separate stronger and closer bilateral ties with New Zealand and Australia, especially in political, defense, economic cooperation, and people-to-people relations.

Aquino has scheduled meetings with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae in its capital, Wellington, and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce which will also be in Canberra.

Among the issues Aquino is expected to discuss with his counterparts is the recent historic signing of the Framework Agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Aquino also earlier mentioned at a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines the Philippines will be offering Australia its third strategic partnership.

“We only have two strategic partnerships—one in the United States of America and the other with Japan. We're offering the third to Australia and they are presently studying it,” the President was quoted saying.

Aquino is scheduled to depart Manila Sunday with a lean delegation that includes Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and other Cabinet Secretaries who will also be meeting with their respective counterparts.

In Auckland, the President will meet with the Filipino community and deliver a speech at a business forum to be attended by the Philippines-New Zealand Business Council and the New Zealand-Philippines Business Council.

He will also have one-on-one meetings with some New Zealand corporations there.

In Sydney, Australia, the President will likewise deliver a keynote address at the Philippines-Australia Business Forum and meet with top CEOs in a roundtable setting and have one-on-one meetings with several Australian companies.

He will again deliver another address to The Asia Society of Australia and the Australia Philippine Business Council before going to Campbelltown to unveil a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal in Sydney.

The President will also make time to interact with the members of the Filipino Community in Australia where he is expected to encourage them to help raise the profile of the Philippines by being knowledgeable and competent sources of information on their home country, be it on history and culture, business, and tourism, among others.

Around 36,000 Filipinos are residing in New Zealand, comprising one percent of its total population.

Australia, on the other hand, has about 224,000 Filipinos making the Philippines as one of its top 10 sources of countries for recent migrant arrivals. (PNA)

HBC/PCOO/SSC

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