MANILA, JUNE 11, 2012 (MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT) ‘Why did the embassy in London not seek another date for the official visit?’

PALACE men were scraping the bottom of the barrel when they announced during President Aquino’s London visit that Royal Dutch Shell will be investing $1 billion in unspecified projects. Shell’s planned investments are on top of plan of Glenco International to revive the moribund copper smelting plant in Leyte and another deal struck with airplane engine maker Rolls Royce, according to the officials.

The announcements, although patterned after the template used to tout benefits from presidential foreign trips, were so scarce of details one wonders if these were mere expressions of interest rather than hard and firm commitments.

So slim were the pickings that Palace officials should have downplayed the economic dimension and highlighted other aspects of the visit. And what indeed were the gains from the trip where the visitor could not even be accommodated with a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II who was supposed to be busy preparing for her Diamond celebration?

Why did the embassy in London then not seek another date for the official visit upon knowing the sparing welcome readied for Aquino?

The Philippines is not so destitute it could agree to its President being treated as a poor relation seemingly trying to gatecrash a royal celebration.

In meeting the President, Prince Andrew conceivably felt he was repaying a debt to the Philippine government.

The last time Andrew was here he was pitching Rolls Royce engines to local airline companies for use in their orders of Airbus planes. He was told that Pratt and Whitney was offering a better deal because of the more liberal financing package available from the US Export-Import Bank.

Possibly, Andrew was able to convince the British government to come up with a competitive package, resulting in Cebu Pacific Air’s decision to use Rolls Royce engines in its fleet of A300 planes on the pipeline.

The deal is mutually beneficial, we suppose.

But we could not believe the claim that the Rolls Royce-Cebu Pacific deal was among the fruits of Aquino’s London visit.

The deal had been long-concluded and Britain needed it more than the Philippines.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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