MANILA, Philippines – Despite three out of the four host countries footing the bill for President Benigno Aquino III’s accommodations, the government will still have to spend P31.9 million for his trip to Europe.
“According to the Office of the Executive Secretary, (the budget is around) P31.9-million—for the visits to Spain, to Belgium, to France, and to Germany,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said over state-run radio.
Valte said the amount covers “transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements” of Aquino and his delegation during their eight-day visit to Europe.
Aquino left on Saturday evening for Spain. He will stay in Europe until September 20 and will then fly to the United States where he will deliver a speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit. He will return to the Philippines on September 25.
Valte said the Office of the Executive Secretary has yet to release the amount allotted for the Aquino’s US visit.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson earlier said they do not expect the Europe trip expenses to be “stratospheric” since three of the four receiving countries will provide hospitality since their arrangement is for an official visit.
“The difference between an official visit and a working visit is the hospitality extended by the country concerned,” Collinson said.
Aquino will be visiting Belgium, where the European Union headquarters is located, on a working visit.
In June, Aquino and his 41-member delegation visited Japan for a one-day trip that cost the government P8.8 million. Meanwhile, P6.8 million was allotted for his two-day attendance at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Myanmar last May. His state visit to Malaysia in February also lasted for two days and had cost the government P9 million.
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