BY REGINA BENGCO
TARLAC — President Aquino said Monday he would issue a strong statement on Myanmar and call for the "next phase" or greater cohesion on the disputed islands in the South China Sea during his state visit in Vietnam on October 26-27 and the Asean summit in Vietnam on October 28-30.
Aquino, in press conference after voting in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, said there should be an "improvement" in the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.
He said the "next phase" involves all claimant counties reaping the fruits of the potentials of the disputed area.
"Para maging mutually beneficial ang idea, kung tayo ay nakikinabang na sabay-sabay, dito gumaganda ang lahat ng ekonomiya natin. Maayos ang estado ng kabuhayan ng lahat ng nasasakupan natin. Lalo tayong mailalayo sa pangamba na magkaroon ng di kanais-nais sa South China Sea... Really, a greater cohesion, a great cooperation, economically more than anything and hopefully that will lead to greater stability within the region," he said.
Aquino will leave Manila at 7:20 a.m. on Tuesday for his two-day state visit to Vietnam and the succeeding Asean Summit and other related meetings in the next three days.
He said his briefing papers on his bilateral meetings are about an inch thick.
He said it is important to touch base with neighboring countries because many problems have worldwide global significance such as global warming, piracy, pollution, and terrorism.
Aquino said he has only one more foreign trip after Vietnam, which is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Yokohama, Japan in November.
He said he will not go on a foreign trip if it will not redound to immediate benefits for the country.
He said his P25-million trip to the US yielded $2.4 billion in investments, plus a grant of more than $400 million from the Millennium Challenge Corp. and the promised job generation.
"It’s a no-brainer," he said.
Asked if he will appoint a caretaker for the Philippine government in his absence, he said, "I am not incapacitated in any way…I can do it. I am not that far away."
* Business Insight