MANILA, Philippines - Newly installed Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas confirmed he will be flying to China tonight as the country’s “special envoy”.
Roxas said that sometime after his confirmation at the Senate yesterday, he met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and President Benigno Aquino III and was instructed to fly to China.
He was tasked to deliver or relay the President's message regarding several matters concerning the Philippines and China.
In a statement this morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Chinese Government had earlier requested the Philippines to send a high-level delegation to the 9th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO).
Roxas refused to comment if his task has something to do with the drama that transpired at the Senate yesterday between Senator Antonio Trillanes and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. The latter said Trillanes’ back-channeling efforts ended in the country’s sellout to China.
Roxas' name, in fact, cropped up after Enrile read portions of the notes of former Ambassador to China Sonia Brady.
Enrile said Trillanes was allegedly making negative remarks about del Rosario and even suggested to Chinese officials that Roxas be made as China’s direct link to Malacañang.
Roxas said, however, that he is not privy to any of the information revealed and that he maintains a good working relationship with del Rosario.
The Foreign Affairs chief will not be accompanying Roxas to his trip to China because he has several pending commitments in the United States.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association is optimistic that Roxas' trip to China will be a success.
Outgoing PTAA President Aileen Clemente said the industry is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the dispute between the Philippines and China. They said opportunities for growth had been lost due to the halted chartered flights from China to the Philippines.
They are still confident, however, that the Philippines will be able to attract more tourists this year from other markets such as Korea, the US, Japan and Taiwan.