Gov’t. allots P11-M for President’s participation in 21st ASEAN Summit in Cambodia

The government has earmarked around P11 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s attendance to the 21st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, which will be held in the Kingdom of Cambodia from November 18 to 20, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Saturday.

The Chief Executive left Saturday night for Phnom Penh to participate in the regional conference, accompanied by a 53-member delegation that includes Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, PCOO Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

“President Aquino’s participation in the regional meeting reinforces our firm commitment to promote cooperation, not only in terms of economic development, but also in maintaining peace in the region and protecting and enhancing human rights,” Ochoa said.

The estimated cost of the presidential trip covers the delegation’s chartered flight to Cambodia, accommodation, transportation, food, and equipment and telecommunications requirements, among others.

With the theme “ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny,” the Leaders’ Summit is expected to finalize the preparation for an ASEAN community by 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

According to the DFA, the President will have a series of meetings with his counterparts from ASEAN and leaders of the East Asian Partners (EAS) to further advance regional integration and cooperation in the dynamic East Asia.

At the leaders’ meeting, the President is expected to express the country’s position on maritime security and cooperation in the West Philippine Sea, human rights and protection of migrants workers, among others.

The DFA also said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will formally open the Summit on November 18 with the official launching of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which establishes an ASEAN-led process for engaging the regional bloc’s dialogue partners.

The DFA said the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), which is envisioned as the ASEAN’s articulation of its human rights principles that would serve as the guiding document for activities aimed at promoting and enhancing regional cooperation on human rights, is also up for signing during the regional conference in Cambodia.###