GMA  IN  BEIJING:  NO  PRESIDENTIAL  PEP  TALK  FOR  RP  BETS

BEIJING, AUGUST 8, 2008
(STAR) President Arroyo decided not to pay the Filipino Olympians in the Olympic Village a surprise visit today so as not to interrupt their last-minute preparations for the Games.

A Malacañang media relations officer said the President may instead go straight to the Opening Ceremonies today after completing the political and business side of her China visit before she returns home Aug. 9.

“The President doesn’t want to disturb the athletes,” said a Malacañang advisory from Chengdu, Sichuan Province where the President and First Gentleman had their first stop in the course of her three-day state visit here. She was to arrive in Beijing at 7 p.m. yesterday.

However, Monico Puentevella, chef de mission of the 15-man Philippine delegation, said the President may be extending her stay in Beijing to be able to watch Mark Javier in the ranking round of the archery competitions and Eric Ang in the clay shooting eliminations at the start of competitions tomorrow.

The President’s tentative schedule includes lunch with the athletes tomorrow.

President Arroyo arrived at 9:20 a.m. yesterday at the Chendu Shuangliu International Airport where she and the First Gentleman were welcomed by Director of Sichuan protocol Zhang Tao, Amabassador Sonia Brady, Sichuan Executive Vice Governor Wei Hong and Special Envoy Carlos Chan.

An hour later, the Chief Executive met with officials of the Sichuan Provincial Federation of Industry and Commerce and Chinese investors. She also met with Liu Qibao, secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party.

The President’s itinerary included a visit to the Tenda Physical Club and the resettlement center for the victims of the Sichuan tragedy. At the Diligence and Thrift Family Temporary Resettlement Area, the President presided over the ceremonial turnover of Oishi products manufactured in China by a Filipino businessman. She concluded her one-day stay with a visit to a resettlement area hospital.

Chinese President Hu will host a lunch meeting with chief executives attending the opening of the Bejing Olympics today.

The President’s schedule for the rest of the afternoon was not yet released by Malacañang. – Gerry Carpio


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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