Pamalakaya: “PNoy going Imeldific with P 44 million budget for NZ, Australian trip”

THE fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) described President Benigno Simeon Aquino III as the new Imelda Marcos of the hour.

In a statement, Pamalakaya national chairperson and Anakpawis party list no.1 nominee Fernando Hicap chided the Chief Executive for spending P 44 million in taxpayers money for his state visits to New Zealand and Australia from October 22 to 26, adding that the President is taking advantage of his position to spend millions of hard-earned taxes for official trips that could be reduced by 75 percent or more.

“The President can stay in a modest hotel during the state visit and dine in modest restaurants without any shade of funfare. He can a have minimum number of companion of at least 2 to three persons and just take the commercial flights to New Zealand and Australia. That won’t cost taxpayers 40 million  pesos. This only shows that President Aquino is living like Imelda Marcos with this Imeldific display of elite aristocracy,” Hicap said.

The Pamalakaya leader added: “Definitely the President is going Imeldific in his trip to New Zealand and Australia.”

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. yesterday announced that President Aquino will spend P 44 million for his state visits to the two countries starting today till October 26. The President left Sunday night for New Zealand upon the invitation of Prime Minister John Key. Then will proceed to Australia for a meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The President will be in Australia from October 24 to 26. Pamalakaya noted that President Aquino will be accompanied by 96 delegates  that include foreign affairs secretary Alberto del Rosario, finance chief Cesar Purisima, trade secretary Gregory Domingo, agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala, defense chief Voltaire Gazmin, socio-economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Palace communications officer Ricky Carandang, Philippine ambassador to New Zealand Virginia Benavidez and Philippine Ambassador to Australia Belen Anota.

“If this is not a junket trip, then what is it? A field trip to Fort Santiago? A trip to Jerusalem? Mr. Aquino and Malacanang should convince the Filipino taxpaying public the legal, political and moral wisdom and validity of this Palace-sponsored outing of 96 people,” said Pamalakaya.

But Executive Secretary Ochoa maintained the state visits to New Zealand and Australia will further boost and strengthen the political, economic and defense ties with the two countries. Aside from the meetings with New Zealand and Australia’s head of states, the President is scheduled to address the meeting of the Philippines-Australia Business Forum, the Asia Society of Australia and the Australia Philippine Business Council composed of top business leaders.

The President is also scheduled to unveil the status of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal in Campbell town and will meet members of the Filipino community in Australia. The Australian state is a home to 224,000 Filipinos.

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