Mon, Sep 19, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Philippine president visits US on anti-graft mission

AFP, MANILA

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III will mainly discuss anti-corruption and government transparency efforts in a low-key five-day visit to the US, his spokesman said yesterday.

Aquino, who departed later yesterday, is to join the Open Government Partnership of US President Barack Obama, but is not expected to have a meeting with the US leader, spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“The trip to the US is primarily an expression of our government’s support for open governance,” he told reporters.

“In fact, the focal department here is not the Department of Foreign Affairs but the Department of Budget and Management ... that’s been very, very open about transparency,” Lacierda said.

Aquino is also expected to attend the World Bank and IMF conferences during his visit to New York and Washington, his spokesman said.

Aquino won a landslide victory in elections last year by campaigning on a strong anti-corruption platform, aimed mainly at his predecessor, then-president Gloria Arroyo.

In contrast to his recent trip to China, where Aquino came with economic goals and a huge business delegation, Lacierda said the president was only bringing a “small delegation” to the US. He declined to say if Aquino would be bringing back any investments or trade accords.

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