PNoy to raise Scarborough issue with UK PM

Posted at 06/01/2012 11:45 AM | Updated as of 06/01/2012 4:02 PM

LONDON - President Benigno Aquino III will embark on a historic visit to London, his first in Europe since his assumption to power two years ago.

UK-based Filipinos and embassy officials could not hide their excitement, considering that the official visit falls on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration.

President Aquino will be in the United Kingdom from June 4 to 6.

In their one-on-one meeting, both Aquino and Prime Minister David Cameron will talk about a wide range of issues, from bilateral agreements, political relationships, the peace process and developments in Mindanao, migration, tourism and regional issues.

But Ambassador Enrique Manalo appears certain that the president might discuss with Cameron the issue of the hotly-contested territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

For Ambassador Manalo, the visit is also good timing because of the renewed business confidence in the Philippines by European sectors due to the government's all out anti-corruption drive.

It's good timing because the official visit will be held just a week after the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, slapped a guilty verdict against Chief Justice Renato Corona for failure to publicly disclose his true wealth as required under the Constitution.

Six up to eight large British multi-national companies will engage in multi-million dollar business agreements with the Philippines in the field of renewed energy, trade, banking and tourism.

With the Eurozone crisis, the UK sees Asia, particularly the Philippines, as the emerging economic power that is ripe for fresh investments.

Great Britain has the biggest number of European tourists entering the country.

Last year, some 104,000 British tourists entered the Philippines.

With the president's visit and with him personally overseeing the Department of Tourism (DOT) campaign “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, now imprinted on London's double-decker buses and famous black cabs, the DOT is expecting to double the flow of British tourists into the country by end of this year.

The president's two-day visit will also include a meeting with the Filipino community.

After his UK visit, President Aquino will leave for Washington Wednesday afternoon of June 6.