by.the.way.1


THIS writer has learned that President Benigno Aquino III is skipping this year’s 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, to the chagrin of some in his inner circle who think he should go and rub elbows with other world leaders.

Unless extremely necessary, we noticed that the President is averse to foreign travels, unlike some of his predecessors, ostensibly to save taxpayers’ money.

Or he simply hates to travel.

His most recent trip was to Vladivostok in Russia to attend the summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Standing for him will be Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who will likely tell the General Assembly about issues concerning the Philippines, including the raging controversy between the Philippines and China on the disputed West Philippine Sea.

By the way, del Rosario is among those urging the travel-shy President to come to New York and deliver the Philippine statement in the general debate.

Del Rosario is not alone in trying to change the President’s mind.

Also making “bulong” (whispers) are Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo.

The three Cabinet officials apparently have been spurned.

But PNoy probably thinks the trip is a waste of time.

After all, he has already addressed the UNGA in September 2011.

But the remarkable thing about that trip was not his speech, but his taking time out to do what most New Yorkers do: Grab a piping hot dog from a street vendor.

That was a brilliant idea, bolstering even more the President’s image with the common touch.

If the President went to Waldorf or Le Cirque for lunch, that would be a normal thing to do for a visiting VIP, and not create a stir at all.

But other people in the know say that the President could have come to New York had a planned visit to Canada did not fizzle out.

It seems that the President was eager to meet the members of the Filipino communities in Canada.

But Canada apparently demurred, with good reason.

There’s going to be an election there shortly and preparing for a state/working visit by a head of state is time-consuming.

Canada can wait.

After all, he has three more years to go before he exits in 2016.

It’s possible he might be invited to Washington again in the near future even as the United States and the Philippines are in constant discussion on military and economic ties.

For now, a visit to the White House is bleak.

President Obama is reeling from domestic issues, ranging from citizens’ surveillance, ObamaCare to immigration reform.

Let’s see what Obama tells his partners when he addresses the UN next month.

Departing from tradition, the UN this year bypassed an election and chose Antigua and Barbuda’s John William Ashe as the consensus president of the 68th session.

Other agenda includes election of non-permanent members to the Security Council for 2014-15 and the election of 18 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council for a three-year term.

There will be a high-level meeting of the UNGA on nuclear disarmament on Sept. 26.

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