By REGINA BENGCO
March 28, 2008
PRESIDENT Arroyo is leaving for Hong Kong on Sunday to attend the Asian Investment Conference and meet with the Filipino community.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Arroyo and her delegation will be back on Tuesday.
Bunye said the President will meet the Filipino community Sunday evening to tell them about the country’s economic growth and about the hedging facilities put up by the government to protect their earnings from the currency fluctuations.
She will also ask them to invest their earnings in tourism, agriculture and real property.
On Monday, Arroyo will speak before the Asian Investment Conference and hold roundtable discussions with fund managers and foreign businessmen.
Overseas workers belonging to the Gloria Step Down Movement Thursday picketed the Philippine consulate-general in Hong Kong denouncing the “lavish” visit of Arroyo amid a festering rice crisis.
GSDM-Hong Kong leader Eman Villanueva said that Arroyo will spend more than P1 million for her March 30 appearance before OFWs at the posh Grand Hyatt Hotel.
“Another million will be spent for the remaining days,” said Villanueva.
“Based on inquiries at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the cost of the hotel’s facilities to be used by the President are about $11,600 for the use of Tiffin Lounge; $18,000 for the function room; and $141 per person who will dine with Arroyo,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva said that Arroyo’s accommodations will cost taxpayers $2,000, while a 30-person party will rack up hotel bills amounting to $23,134.00.
Villanueva said that “with the rice shortage, recent oil price hike, and the general economic crisis, only a President that has complete disregard of the people’s plight can spend P2 million with wild abandon.”
“The rice crisis will surely fire up the outrage of overseas Filipinos reeling from economic hardships and the neglect and irresponsibility of the government,” said Villanueva.
Protests will greet Arroyo on her arrival in Hong Kong on Sunday, Villanueva added.
“OFWs are angry over corruption, neglect and now, impending hunger, under the Arroyo regime,” said Villanueva. – With Anthony Ian Cruz