By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan
President Aquino yesterday left for a five-day State Visit to China, tagging with him the country’s top business leaders and vowing to further improve the trade and diplomatic relatives between the countries.
Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said that apart from members of his Cabinet, Aquino will be accompanied by a business delegation of around 200 people,
but the most prominent of them are: John Gokongwei Jr., Founder/Chairman Emeritus, JG Summit Holdings, Inc; Washigton Sycip, Founding Chairman, SGV & Co; Jose Pardo, Chairman, PCCI Council of Business Leaders; Tony Tan Caktiong,Chairman & CEO, Jollibee Foods Corporation; Antonio Cojuangco, Chairman, Nabasan Subic Development Corp; George Ty, Group Chairman, Metrobank; Teresita Sy Coson, Co-Chairperson, SM Investments Corporation; Carlos Chan, Chairman, Liwayway Holdings; Ramos Ang, President & CEO, San Miguel Corporation; Manuel V Pangilinan,Chairman, PLDT Co., Lucio Tan, Founder/Group Chairman, Lucio C. Tan Group of Companies; Andrew Tan,Chairman, Allied Group Inc. (Megaworld); Erramon Aboitiz,President & CEO, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Alfredo Yao, Chairman, Zesto Corporation; Tan Ching, of Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. and Francis Chua, President, PCCU – PCBC.
Valte claimed that Aquino his entourage will be spending only P25 Million for five days as Aquino expressed hopes that he would be able to bring home at least USD 2 billion in investments.
Talk is that the businessmen flying with Aquino paid P85,000 each for the plane fare, while those in the second airplane were charged P45,000 each.
The President will start his activity today by meeting separately with Chinese businessmen at the China World Hotel.
He will also have a brief meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan.
This will be followed by his attendance at the Philippines-China Economic and Trade Forum where he will deliver his keynote speech.
At the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, the President will be interviewed by Yang Rui and Yang Lan of CCTV Dialog.
The President will be officially welcomed at the Great Hall of the People by Chinese President Hu Jintao, in fitting ceremonies accorded a visiting head of state.
Immediately after his first summit meeting with the Chinese leader, the two heads of state will hold a bilateral meeting.
President Aquino and President Hu Jintao are also expected to witness the signing of agreements in the fields of trade, economic and technical cooperation, media, sports, culture and information among others that will further boost the relationship between the two countries.
In the evening, the President will attend a State Banquet at the Great Hall of the People which will be hosted in his honor by the Chinese President.
He will also meet with the Filipino community of Beijing to personally check on their condition and to inform them of the positive developments of the Philippines under his administration.
There are some 2,492 Filipinos in Beijing and its neighboring cities and provinces who are working as doctors, engineers, teachers, and hotel and restaurant managers, including musicians among others.
Prior to the Coffee with the Philippine media, the President will drop by at a dinner hosted by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines for the 270 business delegation.
Aquino will also take time out from his busy schedules here to visit Beijing’s two most visited historical sites — the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City.
The Chinese government has recommended that President Aquino will visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall, which is approximately 80 kilometers northwest from the center of Beijing.
Before leaving for Shanghai, the President will meet with Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China on June 9, 1975, the bilateral partnership between the two countries has reached unprecedented levels in terms of political/security and regional cooperation, trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, which have benefited the two countries and peoples.
The Philippines-China economic and trade cooperation continues to serve as the engine that drives Philippine-China relations to greater heights. China is the Philippines’ third largest trading partner and the fastest growing source of tourists.