MANILA (Nov. 10, 2012) –President Benigno
S. Aquino III welcomed visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper with arrival honors in Malacañang.
PM Harper was in Manila for a three-day official visit. He was honored
with a 19-gun salute as the national anthems of both countries were
Other members of the Cabinet who joined President Aquino in welcoming
Prime Minister Harper and his wife Laureen Harper included Foreign
Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima,
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Labor
and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, National Economic and
Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Arsenio Balisacan,
Metropolitan Manila Development Chairman Francis Tolentino, Presidential
Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Presidential Communications Operations
Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr., among
The President then ushered Harper into Malacañang Palace
for the traditional signing of the Palace Guest Book.
The visit of Prime Minister Harper marked the highest-level visit
of a Canadian official in the last 15 years. In 1997, then Prime
Minister Jean Chretien brought a business delegation to the Philippines.
The two heads of government discussed the upward trajectory of Philippines-Canada
bilateral relations. Among the issues discussed were the deepening
of people-to-people ties, increasing commercial relations, and progress
in the governance agenda of the Aquino Administration.
President Aquino and Prime Minister Harper also discussed the gains
in the Philippine peace process, particularly the newly signed Bangsamoro
During the visit, President Aquino and Prime Minister Harper witnessed
the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the
Philippine Department of National Defense and the Canadian Commercial
Cooperation on government-to-government transactions in defense
and military-related procurements.
The MOU will ensure the smooth and expeditious procurement transactions
with the Canadian government’s assurance on the quality of
equipment from and compliance with procurement contracts by Canadian