P7-M budget for Aquino's 22nd ASEAN Summit trip
MANILA, Philippines - How much is the government spending for President Benigno Aquino III's attendance at the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan from April 24 to April 25?
The answer is P7-M -- and Malacañang itself released the amount to the media hours before Aquino was scheduled to fly to the capital of Brunei on Wednesday afternoon, April 24. He will be leaving on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight with a 51-member delegation.
Last year, the government allocated P11-M for Aquino's attendance at the 21st ASEAN Summit in November 2012.
In a statement, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr said that this year's ASEAN budget covers the lease for the plane, accommodation, transportation, food and equipment for the Philippine delegation.
Aquino's ASEAN team includes Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary to the President Rene Almendras, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.
ASEAN agenda, Aquino's schedule
The Philippines is also expected to push for the creation of a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea at the summit. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez earlier said the ASEAN has already agreed on elements to be included in the COC and only China's approval is needed to formalize the agreement.
Also included in the agenda is the 9th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit, the DFA said.
Aquino is expected to arrive in Brunei Darussalam at 6:05 pm. At 8 pm., he will attend the 22nd ASEAN Summit dinner with other heads of state at the office of Brunei Prime Minister Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Lacierda said.
The leaders will hold a meeting at 8:45 pm. After an hour, the President will attend a coffee meeting with the Philippine media at the Philippine embassy. - with reports from Angela Casauay/Rappler.com