MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III will undertake state visits to New Zealand and Australia to strengthen bilateral ties.
Aquino will go to New Zealand on October 22 to 23 upon invitation from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. The visit aims to “deepen and strengthen relations in terms of political, defense, economic and development
cooperation and people-to-people relations,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
He will first go to Auckland to meet with the Filipino community and several New Zealand corporations. He will also deliver a speech during a business forum that will be attended by the Philippines New Zealand Business Council and the New Zealand Philippines Business Council.
Aquino will then proceed to Wellington to meet with Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae. The three will discuss regional and international developments of mutual concern.
He will also discuss developments, including the conclusion of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The President will next proceed to Australia from October 24 to 26, upon the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
He will meet with Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra, where they are expected to update each other on various issues.
“Discussions will likewise focus on cooperation in the political, economic, defense, and development fields, and on the future direction of Philippine-Australian bilateral relations. Regional and international issues will also be taken up,” the DFA said.
His next stop is in Sydney, where he will address the Philippines-Australia Business Forum.
The President will meet with top CEOs in a roundtable setting and have one-on-one meetings with several Australian companies. He will again deliver another address to The Asia Society of Australia and the Australia Philippine Business Council.
He will also unveil at the Campbelltown in Sydney a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Aquino will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, and other Cabinet Secretaries who will also be meeting with their counterparts.
Filipinos comprise one percent of the New Zealand population, or some 36,000 in total. Around 224,000 Filipinos are in Australia.