Aquino off to APEC meeting on P16.34 million budget


November 11, 2010 press release from the Office of the President
The Palace is spending an estimated P16.34 million for President Benigno Aquino III’s five-day trip to Japan for the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, according to Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr.
The amount covers the costs of accommodations, transportation, food and commercial airfares of the 51-man delegation accompanying the President for his first participation in the meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders in Yokohama from November 12 to 15.
Ochoa said that MalacaƱang staff have already adjusted to the President’s penny-pinching ways.
“Everyone is conscious about the President’s desire to cut back on unnecessary expenses, so support staff are aware that they have to trim back their numbers to the barest minimum to perform their tasks during the trip,” Ochoa explained.
According to the Executive Secretary, other stringent measures are also uniformly applied to other government personnel who seek clearance to travel abroad.
“Only agency heads, for example, are allowed to use business class for commercial flights abroad––and only on long-haul flights to destinations like the United States,” he said. “For shorter flights, everyone has to fly economy.”
Cabinet officials accompanying the President in Japan include Foreign Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad, and Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning head Ramon A. Carandang.
The APEC is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim economies that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. APEC members account for approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, approximately 54 percent of world gross domestic product and about 44 percent of world trade.