Aquino leaves Sunday to attend 9th Asia-Europe Meeting in Laos

November 3, 2012 10:23 am 

MANILA, Nov. 2 — President Benigno S. Aquino III will leave Sunday afternoon for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) from Nov. 5 to 6, Malacanang said on Friday.

In a radio interview over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Friday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President will take time Saturday to prepare for his trip to Laos.

“Maraming preparations… ang mga briefing niya on the agenda at kung ano ang kanilang mga pag-uusapan,” Valte said adding that the President always prepares for all his meeting especially overseas.

The Palace official said Malacanang will be providing the media information on the President’s Sunday trip such as the members of his delegation, total expenses and the rough schedule of the ASEM trip.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), President Aquino’s attendance to the ASEM 9, his first since he assumed office, “signals the Philippines’ renewed focus on Europe and reaffirms the importance of the region as an economic and political partner.”

The President is expected to exchange views with his counterparts from the two regions on the Eurozone crisis, trade and investment facilitation, energy and food security, disaster management, counter-terrorism, migration, and regional issues during the two-day Summit.

Europe is the Philippines’ third largest trade partner after North America and Asia with trade pegged at $ 13-billion for about 12 percent of Philippine total trade to the world in 2011, the DFA said.

More than P33-billion investments also came from the European Union during the same period, primarily from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, it added.

The President will also showcase, during the summit, the reforms he has implemented to fight corruption and alleviate the lives of the Filipino people.

The Chief Executive is also expected to highlight Philippine’ accomplishments in good governance and inclusive growth and at the same time call for an enhanced Asia-Europe economic partnership in the midst of global economic uncertainties.

He will also underscore the importance of upholding the rights of migrant workers, especially at a time when most European countries encounter socio-economic difficulties.

As of 2011, there are 746,701 Filipinos living and working in Europe, the foreign affairs department said.

The ASEM is a dialogue process started in 1996 with the main objective of forging a comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. It is currently composed of 48 partners – all 10 ASEAN countries, 9 other Asian countries, the 27 member-states of the European Union, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat.

It is the only forum where Europe and Asia engage one another at the highest levels of government to discuss international issues of common concern and to formulate mutually beneficial cooperation on region-to-region basis.

This year’s theme is “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity.” (PNA)

RMA/PCOO/AS/UTB

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