MANILA, Philippines - The government will be spending around P24.8 million for President Benigno Aquino III’s 5-day visit to the United States, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said.
Aquino will be leaving Sunday night via a commercial flight to San Francisco, along with Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang, and Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.
The budget covers expenses for hotel accommodations, food, transportation, telecommunications and equipment requirements, among others.
Aquino was invited by US President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the official launch of the Open Government Partnership in New York on September 20. Obama and Rousseff will co-chair the initiative with the theme: “"The Power of Open: A Global Discussion."
The Philippines is only one of 8 members of the OGP steering committee.
"President Aquino's participation in the event and the selection of our country as a member of the Steering Committee reflects the international community's recognition of the President's commitment to open governance and anti-corruption programs and practices," Ochoa said.
"Such programs are so important to the President that he himself chairs the Cabinet Cluster on Good Governance, which oversees and spearheads these initiatives," Ochoa stressed.
In his short layover in San Francisco before going to New York, Aquino will be conferred a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa at Fordham University.
He will also meet with high-level business executives belonging to the US-ASEAN Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, and speak before the IBM Centennial Forum, "Think: A Forum on the Future of Leadership," for the computer giant's 100th anniversary.
His next trip after New York will be in Washington D.C. to deliver a public lecture during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings with an audience composed of finance ministers, central bank officials and country representatives. His lecture will discuss the roles of citizen empowerment, good governance and anti-corruption initiatives as agents of poverty reduction.
The President will also meet with the Filipino communities there. He will return to the country on September 23.