An estimated P6.7 million will be spent by the government for President Benigno Aquino III’s participation in the 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit to be held in Bali, Indonesia from November 17-19, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Thursday.
The President left Manila Thursday morning via a chartered flight, accompanied by a 57-member delegation that included Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo and Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang.
“The President will be participating in the plenary sessions and bilateral meetings, wherein he will underscore, among other issues, the importance of maintaining peace, stability, maritime safety and security in the West Philippine Sea,” Ochoa said.
The P6.7-million budget covers expenses for hotel accommodations, food, transportation, telecommunications and equipment requirements.
Last May, President Aquino presented during the 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta the Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZoPFFC) as a solution to territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
During his three-day working visit to Bali, the President is expected to witness, among others, the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management AHA Center by foreign ministers.
The heads of states and governments of the 10-member regional bloc are likewise anticipated to forge the Bali Declaration on ASEAN Community in Global Community of Nations.
President Aquino’s attendance to the ASEAN meeting is his third since he became the Chief Executive last year. His first was in Vietnam in November 2010 and then in Jakarta last May.
Other members of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar,Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ###