GMA  SCHEDULED  TO  MAKE  3  MORE  FOREIGN  TRIPS  BEFORE  YEAREND

MANILA, NOVEMBER 3, 2008 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo is scheduled to make three more foreign trips before the end of the year, including a trip to Peru to attend the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the foreign trips are necessary especially now that the Philippines has to shore up its economy owing to the global financial crisis.

“These foreign trips are not picnics or holiday trips,” Dureza told radio station dzRB.

“The President has very little rest in these trips that are meant to fulfill the country’s international commitments,” he said.

Dureza said Mrs. Arroyo’s trips are mostly meant to generate more investments for the country and push initiatives that would benefit the poor, such as the common fund the President is proposing for Southeast Asian countries to put up as a standby facility in case economies in the region need financial rescue.

He added the President’s foreign visits always include agenda on protecting Filipino expatriates.

“These trips have long-term beneficial effects that go beyond her term,” Dureza said.

Mrs. Arroyo is scheduled to attend the APEC summit in Peru on the third week of the month. The global economic crisis is expected to top the agenda of the gathering of world leaders.

There were talks that Mrs. Arroyo might visit nearby countries in South America but there has been no confirmation.

However, there were reports that she would visit Saudi Arabia before the APEC summit.

Dureza, however, clarified the President is scheduled to make a brief visit to New York in connection with a global forum organized by Saudi Arabia.

Mrs. Arroyo is also scheduled to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand next month.

Dureza said she will press the ASEAN member economies and their major trading partners – Japan, China and South Korea – to approve the Philippine-led proposal to put up more than $80 billion as the region’s standby facility to rescue financial institutions that may be imperiled by the global economic crisis.

He said the President also has an invitation to visit a country in the Middle East toward the end of the year but there are no available details yet.

Last month, Mrs. Arroyo visited Beijing to attend the Asia-Europe Summit. In September, she visited New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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