[PHOTO - President Benigno Aquino 3rd holds a picture of an orchid named after him—Ascocendra Benigno S. Aquino 3rd—during an orchid breed-naming ceremony at the National Orchid Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens on Friday. MALACAÑANG PHOTO]

MANILA, MARCH 13, 2011 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - A number of businessmen from Indonesia and Singapore have expressed interest to invest in the Philippines and were closely watching the developments and policies of the government, President Aquino said.

Aquino arrived from Singapore Friday night on board a Philippine Airlines flight.

He went to Indonesia and Singapore on state visits meant to encourage investments in the country and improve ties with member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

[PHOTO - President Benigno Simeon Aquino III exchanges pleasantries with Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. R. M. Marty Natalegawa upon arrival at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to start his five-day State Visits to Indonesia (March 7 – 9) and Singapore (March 9 – 11) Monday night March 07, 2011. (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau)]

The President said various business leaders in Indonesia have expressed interest in investing in thePhp12 million budget for P-Noy’s state visit to Indonesia and Singapore » country.

“The groups of Salim, Lippo, Bakrie, Barito Pacific, and many others, all these taipans are ready to put up businesses in the country. Many businessmen expressed interest in various sectors, especially in tourism,” he said.

Aquino said Singapore also expressed optimism with the direction of his administration.

“It will be difficult to cite one by one the long list of interested investors from Singapore. They are ready to take part in the Public Private Partnerships, especially after the reforms we have started, and will continue, were explained to them. They are convinced of the steps we are taking to stamp out corruption, promote fair competition and do away with changing regulations that used to drive away business people,” he said.

The President said businessmen in Singapore have deep interest in the tourism and energy sectors.

He said investors from both countries are more encouraged with the impending implementation of the pocket open skies policy.

“This means we will no longer make visitors pass through an eye of the needle just to get here. A lot more airplanes will land in our airports, the number of which we will also increase,” Aquino said.

“We will not fail to reciprocate what they have shown us. I tasked our economic managers to form a trade and investment mission to meet with the investors so the economy will improve much faster,” he added.


PNoy's trips to Indonesia, Singapore cost P12-M Posted at 03/07/2011 6:18 PM | Updated as of 03/07/2011 6:20 PM

[PHOTO - President Benigno Simeon Aquino III troops the line during the arrival honors at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to start his five-day State Visits to Indonesia (March 7 – 9) and Singapore (March 9 – 11) Monday night March 07, 2011. (Photo by: Jay Morales / Malacañang Photo Bureau)]

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III and a 53-man delegation is spending P12.27 million (approximately $283,463.48) for a 4-day state visit to Indonesia and Singapore beginning March 7.

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said the P12.27 million has been set aside for the two-leg state visits, excluding airfares, in line with the President’s “minimum expenditures, maximum returns” approach to foreign trips.

“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.

The President departs Monday evening for Indonesia, where he is scheduled to meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudyohono and witness the signing of three agreements on basic education, sports cooperation, and cooperation on preventing and combating transnational crimes and capacity building.

On March 9, the Chief Executive will fly to Singapore to meet with Singaporean President SR Nathan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and discuss the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives, the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan, and other bilateral and ASEAN concerns.

“The President wants to try to pack as many meetings and briefings as possible to maximize his visits to these two countries. This way, he hopes to get more done, given how short his stays in Indonesia and Singapore will be,” Ochoa said.

Cabinet members joining the President in the state visits are Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio Coloma Jr.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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