OTTAWA, Canada: President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday afternoon (Friday in Manila) paid a courtesy call on Canada’s Governor General David Johnston at the latter’s official residence, Rideau Hall.
President Aquino held a cordial meeting with Governor General Johnston after the official welcome ceremony, held in honor of the visiting President upon his arrival here.
The courtesy call is part of President Aquino’s three-day state visit to Canada, which includes stops in Toronto and Vancouver—both of which are home to large Filipino communities—apart from Ottawa.
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Governor General Johnston expressed admiration “for the great strides made by the Aquino administration in terms of placing the Philippine economy on a high growth trajectory”.
President Aquino, on the other hand, attributed the country’s economic growth to good governance and treading the right path.
“President Aquino said that good governance and pursuing the righteous path were largely instrumental in enabling the Philippines to achieve a turnaround,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement.
He said the President also cited the significant gains from “doing the right things right” in infrastructure development, as well as in poverty reduction and social amelioration.
President Aquino also mentioned the government’s conditional cash transfer program, as well as programs to clear backlogs in classrooms and textbooks and in propagating universal health care coverage.
During the talks, the President thanked the governor general for his country’s significant assistance during the aftermath of super typhoon “Haiyan”, which struck the Philippines in November 2013.
He also cited Canada’s contribution to the advancement of the peace process in Mindanao.
President Aquino also lauded Canada’s National Research Council “for its scientific and technological breakthroughs, including those in acoustics and sound technology, that he himself has seen, being a music-oriented person.”
For his part, Governor-General Johnston expressed interest in the possible participation of Canadian companies in the government’s public-private partnership program.
The governor general also expressed interest in the further development of the Philippines as a center for the offshoring of communication services and for business process outsourcing.
Coloma said the two leaders exchanged notes on the promotion of small and medium enterprises, which Canada has also vigorously supported.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who joined the President in the meeting, shared the Philippines’ experience in setting up roving academies and training workshops, as well as setting up shared facilities for start-up enterprises in the coffee, coconut, and loom weaving industries.
Also joining the President were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad, Coloma, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, and Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila Garcia.
Governor General Johnston was joined in the meeting by his spouse, Mrs. Sharon Johnston, Deputy Secretary Patricia Jaton, and Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder.