Aquino leaves Sunday for ASEM meet
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III leaves Sunday afternoon, November 4, for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) that will be held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) from November 5 to 6, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Friday, November 2.
Valte, in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, said the President will take time Saturday to prepare for his trip to Laos.
She said Malacañang will be providing the media information on the President’s Sunday trip such as the members of his delegation, total expenses and the rough schedule of the ASEM trip.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Aquino's attendance to the ASEM 9, his first since he assumed office, “signals the Philippines’ renewed focus on Europe and reaffirms the importance of the region as an economic and political partner.”
During the trip, the President is expected to exchange views with his counterparts from the two regions on the Eurozone crisis, trade and investment facilitation, energy and food security, disaster management, counter-terrorism, migration, and regional issues during the two-day Summit.
The DFA said Europe is the Philippines’ third largest trade partner after North America and Asia with trade pegged at $13-billion for about 12 percent of Philippine total trade to the world in 201.
The DFA also said that more than P33-billion investments came from the European Union during the same period, primarily from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
During the event, Aquino will showcase the reforms he has implemented to fight corruption and alleviate the lives of the Filipino people.
The President is also expected to highlight Philippine’ accomplishments in good governance and inclusive growth and at the same time call for an enhanced Asia-Europe economic partnership in the midst of global economic uncertainties as well as underscore the importance of upholding the rights of migrant workers, especially at a time when most European countries encounter socio-economic difficulties.
DFA records show that as of 2011, there are 746,701 Filipinos living and working in Europe.
The ASEM is a dialogue process started in 1996 with the main objective of forging a comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. It is currently composed of 48 partners – all 10 ASEAN countries, 9 other Asian countries, the 27 member-states of the European Union, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat.
It is the only forum where Europe and Asia engage one another at the highest levels of government to discuss international issues of common concern and to formulate mutually beneficial cooperation on region-to-region basis.
This year’s theme is “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity." - Rappler.com