President Aquino leaves Sunday for state visits to New Zealand and Australia

October 19, 2012 10:27 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 19 — President Benigno S. Aquino III will leave on Sunday for state visits to New Zealand and Australia to strengthen bilateral relations with the two countries, a Malacanang official said on Friday.

The Chief Executive will be in New Zealand on Oct. 22 to 23 and in Australia on Oct. 24 to 26, upon the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, respectively.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing that President Aquino will first proceed to Auckland in New Zealand where he will meet with the Filipino community.

"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. Magkakaroon din po nang pagkakataon ang Pangulo na magkaroon ng one-on-one meetings with some New Zealand corporations," Valte said.

From Auckland, Valte said, the President will proceed to Wellington, the country’s capital, to meet with Prime Minister Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

"Pagkatapos po noon, in Canberra, that is already in Australia, the President will also meet with the Prime Minister and the Governor-General. And they are expected to update each other on current developments in the country primarily the signing of the Framework Agreement with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) as well as political, economic, defense, and development common—mutual developments subjects," Valte said.

From Canberra, the President will proceed to Sydney where he is scheduled to deliver his keynote address at the Philippines-Australia Business Forum.

The President will also 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.

President Aquino will be unveiling a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal in Campbelltown in Sydney. He will also meet and interact with the members of the Filipino Community in Australia.

President Aquino will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang.

There are 36,000 Filipinos living in New Zealand, while 224,000 are in Australia. (PNA)

SCS/PCOO/SSC

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