MANILA, MARCH 11, 2011 (ABS-CBN) [President Benigno Aquino III mingles with passengers onboard Cebu Pacific flight 5J 759 on his way to Jakarta, Indonesia for a state visit, March 07, 2011. Jay Morales / Malacañang Photo Bureau]

Making good on his government's vow of austerity, President Aquino took a Cebu Pacific flight for his state visit to Indonesia on Monday, the first time that the country's head of state flew low cost.

The 8:55 p.m. Cebu Pacific flight 5J759 to Jakarta was the only one that fit into the President's schedule, his senior military adviser Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado earlier said.

From Jakarta, Aquino and his 53-man delegation will take a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight for another state visit to Singapore.

PAL had always played host to Philippine presidents, including Aquino's predecessor and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Aquino has promised to keep expenses when traveling abroad at a minimum to allow more savings for the government, which is hard-pressed in trimming the budget deficit.

His state visits to Indonesia and Singapore, according to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., would cost P12.27 million.

“The President continues to believe that we can achieve all the targets of our foreign trips without having to spend more than what is absolutely necessary,” Ochoa said.

President Aquino won a landslide in last year's elections, thanks to his platform of good governance and anti-corruption.

On top of his agenda was to adopt austerity measures to contain the budget deficit, which hit nearly P300 billion last year.

Such measures include a freeze on the purchase of new government vehicles and construction of new buildings, except for schools, as well as a cut in the budget for the Malacañang household.

The Aquino government's scrimping paid off after it kept last year's deficit below the ceiling.

The deficit hit P314 billion in 2010, lower than the P325 billion government target.


Kadin meets president of the Philippines The Jakarta Post | Thu, 03/10/2011 11:48 PM | Business A | A | A |

[PHOTO - JAKARTA, Indonesia—President Benigno S. Aquino III receives Prajogo Pangestu of Barito Pacific Group and party during a business meeting at the Majapahit Suite, Grand Hyatt Wednesday (Mar. 9) before wrapping up his State Visit in the Republic of Indonesia. (PLDT powered by SMART) (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau)]

JAKARTA: Executives from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) met with Filipino President Benigno Aquino III in a courtesy visit at Grand Hyatt Hotel on Wednesday, Kadin said in a media statement.

Kadin chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto led the executives to propose business prospects that could be followed up by business circles from both countries.

The proposals include increased air and sea links to more destinations, such as direct flights from Cebu or Manila to Bali, and geothermal energy projects.

Meanwhile, the Filipino side was interested in reviving cross-border agreements between both countries that are not covered by the ASEAN framework agreement. — JP


Worthy partner to govt wanted of new Kadin The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 09/22/2010 9:32 AM | Business A | A | A |

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) will choose its new chairman this weekend amid calls for the most powerful business group in the country to be more progressive and critical in its role as the government’s partner for development.

Kadin’s sixth national meeting from Friday to Saturday will see five candidates competing for a post that has been vacant for a year as previous chairman, Mohammad S. Hidayat became the industry minister.

The candidates include current acting Kadin chairman Adi Putra Tahir, acting chairman of Kadin’s advisory board and president commissioner of Bumi Resources Bambang Sulisto, deputy chairman for non-banking financials and capital markets Wishnu Wardhana, deputy chairman for small-scale enterprises and also managing director of Saratoga Capital Sandiaga Uno, and deputy chairman for investment and logistical affairs Chris Kanter.

The head of the organizing committee for the national meeting and election, Anindya N. Bakrie said Tuesday that the new chairman should be able to respond to new challenges, particularly the growing power of regional economies.

“That is why, apart from appointing the new chairman, we will also discuss how to improve Kadin’s role in taking part in the development of regional economies,” Anindya said.

Faisal Basri, a noted economist, courted to draft Kadin’s 2030 vision, said the business grouping should serve as a critical partner and shed its old image as a vehicle to get access to government projects.

“A credible Kadin has to be autonomous from the government and political parties, instead of becoming their proxies,” he said.

Faisal warned that Kadin as a group should avoid being used by its executives to gain access to special government facilities and treatment.

Aviliani, an economist and a commissioner at Bank BRI, also stressed the need for the new leadership in Kadin to stick more to the interests of its members, emphasizing the professionalism that it represented.

She also added that Kadin had yet to become a worthy critic of the government. “Kadin criticizes the government a lot, but fails to come up with concrete responses to challenge policies that they perceive as mistakes,” he said.

Judging from the campaign of the candidates, they mostly pronounce the same slogans of wanting to make Kadin a more effective partner to the government. Adi Taher emphasized the need to improve Kadin’s role as a center for networking while Chris Kanter called for the need for greater independence from the government and a more critical attitude.

Suryo Sulistio, who is heavily tied to the Bakrie empire — led by current Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, said he aspires to improve professionalism, ethics and capabilities in doing business. The other candidate, Wishnu Wardhana, wants to improve Kadin’s role in maintaining the stability of Indonesia’s economic fundamentals.

Amidst the various declared visions above, the youngest candidate, Sandiaga Uno, is offering something more unique and tangible, since he vows to relinquish his post in Saratoga to concentrate on leading Kadin if he wins.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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