Aquino arrives in Brunei
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei—(UPDATE) President Benigno Aquino III arrived here at 11a.m. Wednesday for a two-day visit during which he is expected to seek investments from local firms and sign several agreements on tourism and trade with the sultanate.
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah received Aquino at his lavish palace, the Istana Nurul Iman, with full royal rites, gathering Brunei ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.
Aquino was to meet with the Filipino community later in the afternoon and visit the Muara Terminal Services inc., a port operated by the Filipino company ICTSI.
The Brunei royalty is also expected to host Aquino in a state banquet Wednesday night. Leaders of the two countries are also to discuss the disputed Spratly islands, which both nations claim in part.
Aquino is scheduled to hold business meetings with local companies on Thursday before returning to Manila in the afternoon.
There are up to 18,000 Filipinos working in the sultanate, among the smallest nations in the world. The oil-rich state has long maintained peaceful ties with the Philippines.
Aquino boarded a Fokker plane at the Villamor Airbase around 8:30 a.m.
In his departure speech, the President said his trip was aimed at attracting investors to the Philippines, enhancing cooperation in dealing with calamities, transnational crimes, and spiraling prices of fuel.
The President said he would also thank Brunei’s leaders for their role in the Philippine government’s peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Brunei is a member of the international monitoring committee observing the ceasefire in Mindanao. With Norman Bordadora in Manila
Originally posted 10:39 am | Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
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