MANILA, Philippines - The Filipino community in Laos will give President Benigno Aquino III a 'grand welcome' on Sunday, November 4, when he arrives for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9 Summit) in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).
Aquino will be attending the ASEM summit for the first time from November 5 to 6.
Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Maria Lumen Isleta said some members of the Filipino community, especially those who work in mining sites, travelled to Vientiane to participate in the welcome dinner for the president.
The program, which will be held at the Mekong Restaurant, will showcase performances by Filipino community members and their children in Vientiane.
"The Filipino community here actively partnered with the Embassy to prepare the program and give the President a grand welcome. Some of them have volunteered to perform onstage or help out in the reception and in ushering. They are really very much ready to roll out the welcome mat, so to speak," Isleta said.
There are 550 Filipinos in Laos, most of whom work in the education, mining, engineering, agriculture and services sectors. Some also work as consultants in international organizations such as the United Nations, Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
"Filipinos usually receive high praise from Laotians due to their professionalism, skills and general disposition at work. They are looked at as being hardworking and cheerful," Isleta said.
Aquino's dinner with the Filipino community is his first stop in Laos.
He will be attending the high-level ASEM in the next two days along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Philippine ambassador to Laos People's Democractic Republic Maria Lumen Isleta, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and newly-swore in secretary to the Cabinet Rene Jose Almendras.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said the ASEM trip costs P8.9 million, with the funds covering the chartered flight, accommodation, transportation, food, and equipment and telecommunications requirements of the delegation. - Rappler.com