Henry Kissinger

Aquino all set for international ‘debut’

Aquino all set for international ‘debut’

PRESIDENT Aquino will make his international debut on Friday in New York at the US-Asean Leaders’ Meeting and the UN General Assembly.

The US-Asean Leaders’ Meeting is expected to result in the creation of an Asean-US Eminent Persons Group that will recommend the forging of a strategic partnership between Asean and the United States in the fields of political security, and economic and socio-cultural cooperation.

On Thursday (Manila time), Aquino received the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal, the highest honor conferred by the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the alma mater of his late mother, former president Corazon Aquino.

The award is named after the native New Yorker, saint and founder of the Sisters of Charity, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and is given to those with outstanding achievements, generosity of spirit and extraordinary self-sacrifice. President Corazon Aquino received the same award.

Aquino said he is a “living testimony to People Power: the redemptive power of prayer” that “toppled the dictatorship, frustrated those who would try to revive its ways, sustained democracy and now, serves as the bones and sinews of our great mandate for reform.”

He said Filipinos are now “working mightily to free themselves from slavery and poverty.” He said he is praying that Filipinos will remain free and prosperous long after his term.

At the US-Asean Leaders’ Meeting, one issue expected to be discussed is Asean’s dispute with China on some islands in the South China Sea. China has opposed the US’ intervention in the Spratlys dispute.

The Spratly islands are being claimed wholly or in part by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

US President Barack Obama, President Aquino and Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet are expected to hold a press conference after the meeting.

Vietnam chairs the Asean for this year while the Philippines is the coordinator of the US-Asean Leaders Meeting.

Aquino will also meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and address the United Nations General Assembly.

At the UNGA, Aquino is expected to call for international cooperation in addressing global issues. He will also discuss the Philippines’ commitment to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals and reiterate the Philippines’ support for UN peacekeeping mission.

Aquino on Thursday (Manila time) met with officials of the Synergos Institute and key civil society leaders from around the world to exchange ideas on active citizenship and participatory governance, as well as the possibility of pursuing a tripartite partnership with government.

He also met with officials of the AES Corp. to discuss the possible expansion of the Masinloc power plant in Zambales.

He received World Bank president Robert Zoellick and discussed how the WB could help develop crucial sectors of the economy and Mindanao.

Aquino also talked business and trade opportunities with the RP-US Business Council during a dinner at the Benihana restaurant in New York City.

Aquino also had a separate meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York (Wednesday in Manila) to get some insights on foreign relations.

Aquino said Kissinger’s expertise in foreign relations is something that he cannot ignore. Kissinger is a political scientist who advised US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F.Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

He said Kissinger, a Harvard professor of government and foreign policy adviser for the Nixon and Ford administrations, could help guide his fledgling administration in its international relations.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, meanwhile, justified the governments hiring of a PR firm to “sell” the country. He said the firm Creab Gavin Anderson was paid $15,000 to help project a favorable image for the country in the foreign business media.

Aquino taps Roxas as adviser

Aquino taps Roxas as adviser
by Joyce Pañares
Manila Standard

Defeated vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II has been named a “senior adviser” of President Aquino, thus his inclusion in the business delegation that has left for the United States, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Tuesday.

“There’s nothing unusual that he joined the trip. He is a senior adviser,” Lacierda said, noting that Roxas, being a former New York-based banker, can help the President during his meetings with top executives of US firms.

During his New York and San Francisco visits, Mr. Aquino is expected to make an investment pitch for Manila when he meets leaders of US firms Coach, Luen Thai, IBM, JP Morgan, Sutherland,Automatic Data Processing and Hewlett Packard.

Roxas, however, does not have any official position or portfolio, given the one-year appointment ban on candidates who have lost during the May 10 polls, Lacierda said.

Roxas, a former senator and trade secretary, left for New York ahead of the presidential delegation which only arrived in the US state yesterday.

Roxas is disputing the electoral victory of his rival Jejomar Binay and the Supreme Court will hear the case on Sept. 30.

Presidential messaging head Ramon Carandang said Roxas was personally invited by the President to join the US trip.

“He’s going to be a big help in connecting Philippine business with US business. Mar knows a lot of the very influential businessmen,” Carandang said.

Roxas was also present during Mr. Aquino’s visit to Cebu last week for a regional economic managers’ meeting and during a ceremony for the Metrobank Foundation teacher awardees at the Palace earlier this month.

“I only do what the President asks me to do,” Roxas said in an earlier interview in Cebu but declined to elaborate.

In New York, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyan Minh Triet at the United Nations headquarters and an interview with the New York Times Tuesday (US time).

Mr. Aquino will have an audience with former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and an interview with the Wall Street Journal today (WEDNESDAY US time).

Mr. Aquino will make his international debut when he addresses the 65th United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24.

“The theme of 65th UNGA, ‘Reaffirming the Central Role of the United Nations in Global Governance,’ is fully aligned with President Aquino’s platform of institutionalizing good governance and combating poverty,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said.

On the same day, Mr. Aquino will serve as coordinator for the 2nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations-US Leaders Meeting in New York which will be co-chaired by US President Barack Obama and Nguyan.

“As country coordinator for 2009-2012, the Philippines has a mandate to broaden and deepen the spheres of cooperation between the countries of Southeast Asiaand the United States,” Romulo said.