Aquino to visit Europe, US in September

MANILA, Philippines – It will be a busy month of travel for President Benigno Aquino III, who is headed to 4 different countries in Europe, and the United States in September.

Aquino said in an interview on Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday, August 28, that the trip to Europe – which includes stops in Spain, Germany, France and Belgium – is a move to solidify trade with European nations, as he will get a chance to speak to leaders of the European Union.

The President said he is eyeing major investments but refused to divulge them.

“I don’t want to tell you which investments we’re hoping to come in because, as the saying goes, it hasn’t happened yet and we don’t want to jinx it,” he said.

He said the trip will be quick – only about two days in each country – but he said “the exhaustion will be worth it, compared to what we’re expecting the investors will bring here especially in manufacturing.”

Aquino also expects to discuss the country’s peace efforts with European leaders, and talk about the condition of Filipino seamen when me meets with officials of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), an EU agency in charge of reducing maritime accidents.

Aquino said the two goals of his European trip are “better coordination” and “expanding commerce.”

The President was supposed to go to Europe in September 2010 for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) but cancelled it as part of the new administration's austerity measures.

At the time, Aquino said it would be impractical to spend money on the trip since most other heads of state would not attend the 2010 ASEM, especially those from countries that are prospective Philippine investors.

After his trip to Europe, Aquino is scheduled to travel to the US to speak at the Global Climate Change Summit, upon the invitation of United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon

The President said the Philippines “has a lot of experiences with global climate change,” and Aquino is expected to discuss “how we can fight it” along with other world leaders.

“The Philippines, if you look at our carbon footprint, its very small. But what we experience in natural disasters is very significant,” he said.

Aquino said countries with bigger carbon footprints “should have bigger efforts to reverse” the effects of climate change.

The President said he expects lasting benefits for the country from his upcoming travels.

“It’s different when you meet the leaders and speak to them face to face because it gives a personal touch and coordination about other issues becomes easier,” he said. Rappler.com