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06/06/2012: President Aquino to Boost PHL-US Relations in Visit

06 June 2012 - President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to further invigorate Philippine relations with the United States when he arrives in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night for a three-day official working visit that includes meetings with President Obama and other top government officials, the Philippine Embassy said in a statement.

The President will arrive at 8:30 p.m. at the Andrews Air Force Base on board Philippine Airlines flight PR001 from London.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said the meeting scheduled on Friday will be the fourth between the President and President Obama but the first to be held at the White House.

“The meeting between President Aquino and President Obama will lay the groundwork for the future of the strategic partnership between the Philippines and the United States,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “It is also a chance for them to exchange views on global and regional developments, which they both deem important.”

Ambassador Cuisia said President Aquino and President Obama are expected to discuss a wide range of topics including the country's close strategic, economic, and people-to-people ties during their meeting at the Oval Office. The two leaders will also touch on cooperation in the Asia Pacific as the U.S. refocuses its attention in the area.

Ambassador Cuisia said President Obama has also expressed interest in being updated about President Aquino’s vision for the Philippines and his development agenda, specifically his efforts to promote inclusive growth, create equal opportunities for all, and foster good governance.

“We are happy that a meeting between President Aquino and President Obama is taking place as there is no substitute to strengthening relations between two countries than having a meeting at the summit level,” the country’s top diplomat in the U.S. said, adding that the President will have a full itinerary of activities in Washington, D.C. during this visit.

In addition to his meeting with President Obama, Ambassador Cuisia said President Aquino will be feted by Secretary Hillary Clinton at a luncheon at the Department of State and meet key leaders of the United States Senate at a coffee reception at Capitol Hill. He will also grace the inaugural dinner of the newly formed United States-Philippines Society.

At the Senate, the President will meet President Pro-Tempore Daniel K. Inouye (Democrat-Hawaii), also the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations; Senator William Thad Cochran (Republican-Mississippi), a member of the Committee on Appropriations; Senator John F. Kerry (Democrat-Massachusetts), Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations; and Senator Richard G. Lugar (Republican-Indiana), a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations.

“The Senators would want to hear about the Aquino administration’s efforts to fight corruption and promote good governance,” Ambassador Cuisia said.  “There will also be discussions on our bilateral economic and defense cooperation, the shift in the focus of the United States toward the Asia-Pacific and ways to revitalize our alliance.”

Later on Thursday, the President will be the guest of honor during the launching of the United States-Philippine Society, a non-profit organization that was established to help raise the profile of the Philippines in the U.S.

According to the ambassador, the Society, which is made up of prominent names in both countries, is a private sector initiative designed to promote trade and investment, support bilateral strategic and political goals, and strengthen economic, cultural, technological, tourism, and people-to-people linkages, especially educational and academic exchanges.

Before flying back to Manila, the President will meet members of the Filipino Community in the West Coast at the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. END