Aquino Leaves For UK, US

MANILA, Philippines --- In the next seven days, President Benigno S. Aquino III will run the country via remote control as he attempts to bolster the country's economic and security relations with two of the world's superpowers.

The President is scheduled to depart this afternoon to visit the United Kingdom and the United States.

Aquino's flight to London is scheduled at 1:30 p.m., according to Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte. This will be the President's first official visit to the UK since his assumption to office in 2010.

Valte said the President will not be able to meet Queen Elizabeth since his June 4-6 official visit in the UK coincides with Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration.

Instead, Aquino will hold a meeting with the Duke of York Prince Andrew as the official representative of the Queen. He will also meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron, potential investors, and the Filipino community while visiting London, according to Valte.

The President earlier said he will raise the country's dispute with China over Panatag Shoal when he meets the UK Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. The two leaders are expected to tackle Philippines-UK economic cooperation, anti-corruption and good governance practices, and regional and international issues.

Valte said the President will also meet with several British investors who may be interested to venture in the government's private-public partnership projects in the country. She noted that the United Kingdom was one of the first countries that have shown support for the PPP.

Before he leaves London, Valte said the President will also ''touch base'' with the Filipino community in UK, considered the largest in Europe, and ensure the protection of their welfare.

From the United Kingdom, the President will travel to Washington DC for a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama. This will be the fourth meeting between the two Presidents since 2010. The last time Aquino and Obama met was at the regional summit in Bali, Indonesia last November.

The two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues and concerns in the Asia-Pacific region during their June 8 meeting at the Oval Office. Also included in the agenda is enhancing strategic economic and defense cooperation between the Philippines and the United States.

While in the capital of the United States, Aquino is also scheduled to meet with some US senators, business leaders and investors.

The President will also fly to Los Angeles, California to meet with the Filipino-American community before returning to Manila on June 10.