Aquino changes mind, pushes through with 2-day trip to S. Korea

Aquino changes mind, pushes through with 2-day trip to S. Korea

MANILA - To go or not to go?

President Benigno Aquino III, who shunned publicity on Tuesday because he was not feeling well, eventually decided to push through with his trip to South Korea later this week.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Monday announced the cancellation of his trip on December 11 to 12 because of the need to focus on government efforts after the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit).

Aquino's Cabinet secretaries were supposed to represent him in the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit.

However, a day later, Valte said Aquino changed his mind because of a waning Ruby, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, and "encouraging" reports from the ground.

Valte attributed this to the cooperation and "high level of preparedness achieved by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and affected local government units."

"It is in light of this that President Aquino has decided to push through with the original plan to attend the 25th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit," she added.

The deputy spokesperson said the decision was in accordance with the country's commitment to Korea, which is considered a "staunch ally" of the Philippines.

"This trip will afford the President the opportunity to articulate the Philippine position on issues of both national and global importance, including those connected to climate risk and disaster preparedness, and the dangers posed by the Ebola virus," she explained.

Valte assured the public that Aquino will continue to monitor the condition of typhoon-hit areas despite pushing through with his visit to Busan.

"He has full trust and confidence in the members of the Cabinet who have been on the ground since before Ruby made landfall, as well as in the NDRRMC, local government units, and other government personnel who are engaged in the task of relief and recovery," Valte said.

On Tuesday morning, Aquino was forced to skip a morning engagement because he was unwell.

Valte denied it was the same reason why the President decided to initially cancel his trip to Korea.

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