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PIA Press Release

PNoy to meet ASEAN, US counterparts in his visit to US

Manila (14 September) -- President Benigno Aquino III who is scheduled to visit the United States from September 20 to 26 will meet his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States.

The main reason for the President's visit is to address the 65th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 24. The UNGA is a gathering of over 150 Heads of State/Government in New York and reaffirms the Philippine Government's commitment to the UN Charter and its principles. President Aquino will also meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The theme of 65th UNGA, "Reaffirming the Central Role of the United Nations in Global Governance", is fully aligned with President Aquino's platform of institutionalizing good governance and combating poverty.

The President, on the same day, will be coordinator for the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Meeting in New York. It was learned that the Philippines currently serves as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-US Dialogue relations for the period 2009-2012.

President Aquino will lead the discussions during the ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting, after the opening remarks of the co-chairs Vietnam and the United States.

As Country Coordinator, the Philippines has a mandate to broaden and deepen the spheres of cooperation between the countries of Southeast Asia and the United States, particularly the implementation of the outcome of the Leaders' Meetings, the directives of Foreign Ministers issued during the annual Post-Ministerial Conference session with the United States, and the Plan of Action to Implement ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership.

The meeting will be an opportunity for President Aquino to meet the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN and the United States.

President Aquino was originally scheduled to visit Indonesia and Vietnam first but the trips were deferred due to unforeseen domestic concerns. After consultations with Jakarta and Hanoi, the President's official visits to the two capitals are being rescheduled before or after the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in October.

The ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Meeting will provide an occasion for President Aquino to meet not only with the ASEAN Leaders but also with the U.S. President.

The $434-million Millennium Challenge Compact agreement between the Philippine government and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) is also expected to be signed in New York. This funding assistance will be channeled to the Aquino administration programs on poverty reduction, revenue generation and infrastructure development.

President Aquino will also seize the opportunities presented by his U.S. trip to achieve his Administration's priorities to attract investors, create jobs at home, alleviate poverty and modernize the country's infrastructure.

The President is scheduled to meet with the CEOs and key executives of major U.S. corporations in New York and in San Francisco. These include business meetings with the corporate leaders of Coach, Luen Thai, IBM, JP Morgan, Sutherland, Automatic Data Processing and Hewlett Packard.

The President will also meet with the members of the Filipino American community in New York and in San Francisco to thank them for their abiding love for their native land, share with them his vision for good governance, and enlist their active involvement in realizing the Aquino government's national agenda for the Filipino people.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimated 2.84 million Filipinos in the US, accounting for 34 percent of total overseas Filipinos and for 42 percent of remittances to the Philippines.

In San Francisco, he will have a Roundtable discussion with Filipinos who have gained success in the US in the fields of science technology and engineering (ST&E) to request them to come home and help build the country.

In recognition of his extraordinary service as a public official, the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York will confer on President Aquino the college's highest honor - the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal.

This institution offers the Aquino scholarship which was created in honor of one of its distinguished alumni, former President Corazon C. Aquino. Its Department of Modern Languages offers Filipino and it will soon put up a Filipino Studies program.

Upon the invitation of the Council of Foreign Relations, a leading US think-tank on international affairs, President Aquino will deliver a speech on Philippines-U.S. relations and on Philippines' perspectives on major international and regional issues before an estimated audience of 300 people. The Council's board of directors includes such luminaries as former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

The President's visit to the U.S. will culminate in a Gala Dinner of the Philippine Development Forum (formerly known as the Ayala Foundation-USA) where he will deliver a keynote speech. The President is expected to exhort the Filipinos in the US to demonstrate a new People Power that will enkindle their spirit of volunteerism for the greater good of the Filipino nation.

The President and his delegation are scheduled to arrive in Manila on September 28. (PIA 8) [top]

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