Aquino gets traditional welcome in Canada; Cory remembered
OTTAWA, Canada – President Benigno Aquino III on a three-day state visit to Canada was welcomed with honors at the capital in the traditional Canadian way Thursday afternoon (Friday morning in Manila).
The President rode a state landau, a horse carriage driven by the Royal Canadian Military Police, down the main drive toward the Rideau Hall for the welcome ceremony. Rideau Hall is the official residence of the Canadian governor general.
Once he disembarked near the dais, Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon Johnston were on hand to welcome him for the military honors.
After the guards executed the State salute, the band played the Philippine national anthem as the 21-gun salute boomed in the distance. Accompanied by the Guard Commander, Aquino inspected the honor guards.
Once the inspection was complete, Canada’s anthem was played to conclude the military honors.
Both Aquino and Johnston presented their respective delegations to each other. Before they walked inside the Rideau Hall for the courtesy call, Aquino headed toward a welcoming group of Filipinos to greet and press flesh with them.
Aquino said he was glad to have accepted Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s invitation to visit Canada.
“We look forward to strengthening our already robust relations. I believe that if we continue engaging one another, as we have done in the past, then we can turn our collective aspirations of meaningful shared progress that is inclusive into tangible realities sooner rather than later,” he said in remarks before the courtesy call.
Johnston acknowledged this, and said: “We will find more success when we work together.”
“We stand here in friendship because of the efforts of our predecessors. In your case, your parents—icons of democracy in the Philippines,” he said, referring to the late President Corazon C. Aquino and Benigno Aquino Jr.
“Today, you will quite literally follow in the footsteps of your mother who not only visited Canada in 1989 as president, but who also planted a tree at Rideau Hall. Soon, you will plant your own tree by your mother’s to mark this visit. What a wonderful legacy for your family,” he added.
After the courtesy call, Aquino and Johnston emerged from the Rideau Hall and walked down the main drive to the wooded area, where Aquino shoveled soil onto a Red Spruce tree beside a taller Red Maple planted by his mother on Nov. 6, 1989.
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon (6 a.m. Friday morning in Manila), the Johnstons would host a state dinner for Aquino and his delegation at the Rideau Hall.
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