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How much do Aquino’s trips abroad cost?

/ 05:23 PM September 23, 2014

AQUINOTRIPCOST

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III over the weekend embarked on his fifth trip to the United States, after spending eight days in Europe to the tune of P31.9 million.

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Aquino’s latest trip will be the longest so far – eight days in Europe and four days in the United States.

Travel expenses of officials have long been a touchy subject in the Philippines where at least a quarter of the population is mired in poverty, according to government statistics.

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Aquino’s trip to European countries Spain, Belgium, France and Germany last week, his first since taking office in 2010, cost the taxpayers an average of almost P4 million per day while his current trip to the US cost P14.8 million or P3.7 million per day.

The amounts are higher than the budget spent for visits to South East Asian countries, which ranges from P1 million to P3 million per day. However, it is also relatively small compared to Aquino’s trip to Davos, Switzerland in 2013 (P12.25 million per day) and his trip to the United Kingdom and the United States in 2012 (P12.44 million per day).

The UK and US trip, which lasted seven days from June 4 to 10, 2012, drew flak because of the P87.1 million worth of expenses, the biggest allotment for a trip abroad under the current administration, for Aquino and his delegation’s needs.

The amount allotted for each trip often covers “transportation, accommodation, equipment, and other requirements” of Aquino and his delegation, which numbers around 40 to 80 people. However, some of the amounts listed below do not include airfare. Other trips are also cheaper because some of the expenses were paid for by the host country.

Trips to Brunei, for example, were consistently cheaper. In 2012, the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah shouldered the expenses of Aquino and his delegation so they may attend the wedding of his daughter.

In 2012, Brunei’s hospitality to Aquino made headlines after it lent 43 cars – an assortment of Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce and Volvo — to the Philippine delegation.

Palace officials have argued that the cost of the trip is easily earned through foreign direct investments (FDI), though critics point out that the Philippines has the lowest FDI among the Asean founding member states.

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Nevertheless, Aquino said he expects the country to receive additional FDI worth $2.38 billion as a product of his meetings with business and government officials in Europe.

The President’s trips revolve around meeting heads of states, businessmen and attending international summits, including that of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

His trip to Switzerland in 2013, which cost P49 million, was for the World Economic Forum. The annual meeting in Davos has long been notorious for its hefty price tag.

While Aquino earlier pointed out that his travel expenses are cheaper than that of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because of fewer trips and expenses, information from the Commission on Audit showed that Arroyo’s expenses during the first half of her term matched that of Aquino.

travel-expense

INQUIRER.net has yet to receive the data requested from the COA in order to compare the expenses of past administrations. Comparison of travel expenses of each President will be the subject of another article.

Below are some of the information gathered by INQUIRER.net on Aquino’s trips abroad:

AQUINOTRIPFASTFACTS

2014

United States: P14.8 million

Date: Sept. 20 to 24 (4 days)

To give speech at the UN Climate Change Summit

Spain, Belgium, France and Germany: P31.9 million

Date: Sept. 13 to 20 (8 days)

Met with heads of state, European Union, over trade and other issues

READ: PH gov’t spends P31.9 million for Aquino’s Europe trip

Japan: P8.8 million (41 delegates)

Date: June 24 (1 day)

State visit, met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

READ: Palace spends P8.8M for Aquino’s one-day Japan trip
 

Myanmar: P6.8 million (56 delegates)

Date: May 10 to 11 (2 days)

Attended the 24th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit

READ: Aquino in Myanmar for 24th Asean summit

Malaysia: P9 million (57 delegates)

Date: February 27 to March 1 (3 days)

State visit, met with Prime Minister Najib Razak, tackled Bangsamoro agreement

READ: P9M set aside for Aquino’s Malaysia state visit—Palace

2013

Japan: P15 million (57 delegates)

Date: December 12 to 14 (3 days)

Attended the 40th Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit

READ: Aquino meets Filipino community in Japan

South Korea: P12 million (60 delegates)

Date: October 17 to 18 (2 days)

State visit, met with President Park Geun-hye

READ: Aquino arrives in South Korea for two-day visit

Indonesia and Brunei: P14.3 million (84 delegates)

Date: Oct. 6 to 8 and Oct. 8 to 10 (6 days)

Attended the 21st Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting and the 23rd ASEAN Summit

READ: Palace budget for Aquino’s trip to APEC, ASEAN meets: a modest P14.3M

Myanmar: P6 million (57 delegates)

Date: June 7 to 8 (2 days)

Attended the World Economic Forum on East Asia

Brunei: P7 million (51 delegates)

Date: April 24 to 25 (2 days)

Attended the 22nd Asean Summit

READ: Aquino to push for code of conduct in Asean meet

Switzerland: P49 million (63 delegates)

Date: Jan. 24 to 27 (4 days)

Attended the 2013 World Economic Forum

READ: Aquino to put PH in global focus in Davos debut

2012

Cambodia: P11 million (53 delegates)

Date: November 18 to 20 (3 days)

Attended the 21st Asean Summit
READ: Aquino looks well in 21st Asean Summit opening in Cambodia

Laos: P8.9 million (60 delegates)

Date: Nov. 5 to 6 (2 days)

Attended the 10th Asean-Europe Meeting (Asem)

READ: Aquino defends travels abroad

New Zealand and Australia: P44 million (96 delegates)

Date: Oct. 22 to 23, Oct. 24 to 26 (5 days)

State visits to discuss trade, and defense relations

READ: Aquino to visit Australia, New Zealand next week

Brunei: Did not spend (hosted by Sultan)

Date: Sept. 23 (1 day)

Attended the wedding of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s daughter

READ: Aquino off to Brunei royal wedding

Russia: P15.3 million (66-member delegation)

Date:  September 7 to 9 (8 days)

Attended the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum

READ: Aquino in Vladivostok for Apec, to sell PH

United Kingdom and United States: P87.1 million

Date: June 4 to 6, June 6 to 10 (7 days)

Met with Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince Andrew, met with President Barack Obama

READ: P87.1-M budget for Aquino’s UK, US business trip scandalous—Fr. Dizon and Aquino back with P100B in ‘done deals’

Cambodia: P3.5 million (63-member delegation)

Date: April 2 to 4 (3 days)

Attended the Asean Summit and 45th Anniversary of Asean

READ: Aquino off to Cambodia Monday for 20th Asean Summit

2011

Indonesia: P6.7 million (57-member delegation)

Date: Nov. 17 to 19

Attended the 19th Asean Summit

READ: 19th Asean Summit opens in Bali

Hawaii (US): P24.5 million

Date: Nov. 11 to 12 (2 days)

Attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leader’s summit

READ: President Aquino off to Hawaii today for Apec meet

Japan: P20 million (63-member delegation)

Date: Sept. 25 to 28 (4 days)

Working visit for trade and overseas development assistance

READ: Aquino back from Japan with $1.4B in pledges 

United States:  P24.8 million (no mention of delegation)

Date: Sept. 18 to 23 (6 days)

Gave keynote speech at the Open Government Partnership, met with Obama, etc.

READ: Aquino stars in New York

China: P25 million (270-member delegation –biggest business delegation)

Date: August 30 to September 3 (5 days)

Met with President Hu Jintao, discussed trade and investment

READ: Taipans join President Aquino’s trip to China

Japan: (left unannounced)

Date: August 4 to 5 (2 days)

Met with MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim

READ: Aquino, MILF chief talk peace in Tokyo

Brunei: P2 million (55-member delegation)

Date: June 1 to 2 (2 days)

Invited by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

READ: Brunei rolls out luxury cars for Aquino, entourage

Thailand: P4.5 million (52-member delegation)

Date: May 26 to 27 (2 days)

Invited by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, pitched PPP program

READ: 3 big Thai companies offer to invest in PH

Indonesia: P4.2 million (54-member delegation) – does not include airfare

Date: May 7 to 8 (2 days)

Attended annual gathering of the Asean

Indonesia and Singapore: P12.27 million – excluding airfare (53-member delegation)

Date: March 7 to 9, March 9 to 11 (5 days)

Met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudyohono, Singaporean President S.R. Nathan and Prime Minsiter Lee Hsien

READ: Aquino to discuss Spratlys issue with Singapore and Aquino declines steak at Singapore dinner on Ash Wednesday

2010

Japan:P16.34 million (51-member delegation)

Date: Nov. 12 to 14 (3 days)

Attended the 18th Apec Summit

READ: Aquino flies to Japan with eye on fresh invesetments

Vietnam: P11.3 million (53-member delegation)

Date: 26 to 30 (5 days)

Attended the 17th Asean Summit, state visit

READ: Vietnam can teach us to grow food

United States: P25 million (56-member delegation)

Date: Sept. 20 to 26 (7 days)

Attended the 65th United Nations General Assembly, met with Obama

READ: Obama grants Aquino a 7-minute meet in NYC and PR deal for Aquino’s trip to US less than P45M – Palace

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