PRESIDENT AQUINO ARRIVES IN CALIFORNIA FOR SPECIAL US-ASEAN SUMMIT

RANCHO MIRAGE, California — President Benigno S. Aquino III has arrived to a red carpet welcome in Palm Springs to attend the US-ASEAN Summit, a meeting between United States President Barack Obama and Southeast Asian leaders.

The Philippine Airlines chartered plane carrying President Aquino and a lean Philippine delegation landed at Palm Springs International Airport at 9:01 a.m. Monday (Feb. 15). (Manila is 16 hours ahead of California.)

President Aquino and his delegation were welcomed at the airport by a Senior Protocol from the US State Department, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. and Consul General Leo Herrera Lim.

Cabinet secretaries accompanying the President to the summit include Albert Del Rosario (Foreign Affairs), Cesar Purisima (Finance), Voltaire Gazmin (Defense), Adrian Cristobal Jr. (Trade), Emmanuel Esguerra (NEDA), Herminio Coloma Jr. (Communications), Jose Rene Almendras, and Emmanuel De Guzman (Climate Change Commission).

The US-ASEAN Summit is the first standalone meeting held in the United States. It will take place at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, where President Obama hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in June 2013.

Later in the afternoon, President Aquino will attend the first retreat session of US-ASEAN Summit on the theme of “Promoting an Innovative, Entrepreneurial ASEAN Economic Community.” It will be followed by his attendance to the working dinner hosted by President Obama.

On Feb. 16 (Tuesday), President Aquino will participate in the second retreat session of the Summit under the topic “Protecting Peace, Prosperity, and Security in the Asia-Pacific.” Then he will join his counterparts for the official family photo opportunity.

After the summit, President Aquino will head to Los Angeles for a working visit, where he will receive three major American companies and will address the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (LAWAC) at the Intercontinental Hotel.

President Aquino will also take the opportunity to greet the members of the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles before flying back to Manila on Feb. 17. PNA/northboundasia.com