• US President Obama formally starts 2-day state visit to PH


    United States President Barack Obama arrived at Malacanang at exactly 2:10 p.m. on Monday to formally start his two-day state visit to the Republic of the Philippines.

    The US leader earlier flew in at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 1:35 p.m. on board the US Air Force One from Malaysia for the last leg of his four-nation Asian tour.

    Vice President Jejomar Binay, along with Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, Foreign Affair Secretary Albert del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. and US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg welcomed the US President at the AGES Aviation Center, Balagbag Ramp at the NAIA in Pasay City.

    Newly-designated Philippine Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado also welcomed and assisted President Obama from Air Force One to US Marine One helicopter that brought him to Malacanang.

    President Benigno S. Aquino III received President Obama, who was accorded with arrival honors highlighted by a 21-gun salute while the national anthems of both countries were being played at the Palace grounds.

    The two leaders proceeded at the Palace’s Reception Hall for the traditional signing of the Guestbook.

    Then then proceeded to the Aguinaldo State Dining Room for expanded bilateral meeting set at 2:25 p.m.

    President Aquino will be accompanied by his Cabinet members and their US counterparts during the scheduled one-hour bilateral talks.

    President Aquino and his US counterpart are also scheduled to hold a joint press conference with the Malacanang Press Corps and foreign journalists at 3:25 p.m.

    After the press conference, President Obama will visit the Philippine Embassy along Roxas Blvd. in Manila and will return to Malacanang for a state dinner with President Aquino at the Rizal Hall.

    Aside from the Philippines, President Obama also visited Japan, South Korea and Malaysia during his seven-day Asian trip.

    Earlier on Monday, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

    Goldberg pointed out that the 10-year pact will not reopen US bases in the Philippines, but “it’s an agreement to enhance our defense relationship.”

    The US ambassador also said the EDCA will also take Philippines-US bilateral security relationships to a higher level. PNA


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