Sick Aquino misses meeting with IMF chief
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III, who is reportedly sick, on Friday, November 16 failed to attend a morning meeting with arguably the most powerful woman in the global economy.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is in the Philippines for a short two-and-a-half-day visit as part of her Southeast Asia tour, which also includes trips to Malaysia and Cambodia.
According to a report by Interaksyon, Lagarde’s entourage was headed to Malacañang on the morning of Friday for a meeting with the President when it had to turn around because it received word Aquino was ill.
However, Lagarde was not short of hosts to welcome her. Her convoy instead met with Vice President Jejomar Binay Chief and trusted members of Aquino’s economic cluster including Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
After that, she appeared at a press conference in the Palace before noon, and left for a scheduled lunch with top members of the local business community. The first female head of the IMF said she is particularly keen to see top women business leaders and especially requested to meet with them.
Stronger relationship with IMF
Though Lagarde has visited the country before, this is her first visit as the head of the IMF.
Her tour signifies a new stage in Asia’s relationship to the international fund as several countries lessen their reliance on the IMF and look toward tapping regional funds instead.
The Philippines recently transitioned from being an IMF borrower to a lender.
“As you know, the Philippines and the IMF had been long time partners in development. Over the 44 years before 2006, the Philippines was a major customer of the IMF. But since then, the Philippines is now a creditor, a small creditor of the IMF. But more importantly, a partner in building institutions,” said Purisima.
Lagarde acknowledged that the relationship has changed, and said she is hoping to gain the support of the country as she helps manage the debt crisis in Europe.
“Now the Philippines is a net creditor to the IMF and has actually participated in the bilateral loans that have been put in place this year in order to contribute to the increased resources of the IMF to deal with the consequences of the financial crisis including for the crisis bystanders,” she said.
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Philippines in a different setting and status,” the IMF chief said. - Rappler.com