Obama's state visit cost close to P10M

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2014 08:24 PM | Updated as of May 24 2014 07:29 AM

MANILA - US President Barack Obama's 2-day state visit to the Philippines cost Filipino taxpayers some P9.8 million, a Palace official said Friday.

In a note to media, Communication Secretary Sonny Coloma said, "According to the Executive Secretary's Office, estimated expenses for the visit of US President Barack Obama on 28-29 April totaled PhP 9.8 million. This covers the cost for the state visit ceremonies, transportation, hotel accommodations, and other various expenses."

The note did not have a detailed breakdown of the expenses.

In a state visit, the expenses are charged to the host -- in this case, the Philippine government.

Previously, Malacanang said it did not pay for all of the expenses during Obama's state visit.

Citing international standards, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda explained that the host government is not compelled to pay for the expenses of the entire visiting delegation.

"The host government pays only for the accommodation and, travel or the vehicles of the - not the entire swath of people who came with President Obama - but only one [Obama] plus 10," he said.

He also said that Obama brought with him his own vehicles like the "Air Force One" airplane, the "Marine One" helicopter, and "The Beast" presidential limousine.

Lacierda said the government did not pay for the expenses of the US Secret Service personnel who secure American leader.

"We didn't pay for the Secret Service. All we paid for as part of the state visit is the accommodations of the head of state plus his official delegation," he said.

During his visit, Obama was accorded honors and feted in a state dinner.

He was billeted at the Presidential Suite of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.