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Mar 18th
Home Community RP Government Updates Austere Dinner for Vice President Binay & Party
Austere Dinner for Vice President Binay & Party PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Monday, 07 February 2011 11:15



Journal Group Link International)


Vice President Binay & Party Make Waves at the World Bank


P hilippine Vice President Jejomar C. Binay had a full-plate itinerary of his five-day visit in Washington, D.C., last week but he seemed to treasure most his attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast where President Barack Obama was one of the two featured guest speakers and his appearance at the World Bank.


When this reporter asked the former Makati City mayor over the phone last Friday (Feb. 4) to sum up the accomplishments of his visit in the nation’s capital, he only mentioned two – his attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast and the World Bank – before he would politely cut short our phone conversation to meet some dignitaries waiting for him in the hotel lobby.


But from his voice, this reporter noticed that the Vice President appeared to be very tired and possibly still struggling with the jetlag.


The Philippine Vice President must have been pleased with his attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast on the second day of his visit since it was also an opportunity for him to meet his United States counterpart – Vice President Joe Biden.


Unfortunately, Consul Emil Fernandez, the information officer of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., told this reporter, “We have no picture of this meeting as cameras were not allowed inside.”


When pressed if there was an effort for the Philippine Vice President to meet with Mr. Obama, Mr. Fernandez said, “there was no effort to have VP Binay meet President Obama because the main purpose of VP Binay’s trip was to serve as the keynote speaker during the World Bank Sustainable Development Network annual meeting.”




Mr. Binay must have also enjoyed his visit in the Beltway as “nice and sunny” weather had  cooperated during most of the days of his visit that started on Feb. 1 and lasted up to Feb. 5. “Very little snow” was still visible on the roadsides. But the Vice President was “appropriately dressed for the cold” weather, Fernandez quipped.


Had Mr. Binay made a beeline to the hometown of President Barack Obama in Chicago as did former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mr. Binay would be hating the biting cold weather and the nasty mountains of snow on the road in the wake of the two-day Blizzard of 2011 that hit the Midwest on the first two days of his arrival in D.C.

Mr. Binay was invited by the World Bank to speak on disaster and risk management and urban development during the annual meeting of the Sustainable Development Network (SDN).  This Network promotes economic growth strategies using concepts that are environmentally and socially sound.


As Chairman of HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council), he met with U.S. housing and urban development officials, where they discussed housing and urban policy issues and challenges.


He also met with officials of Habitat for Humanity, whose mission is to address poverty housing and homelessness throughout the world.


Mr. Binay also met with Ambassador Luis Cdebaca, who is head of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.  During this meeting, he expressed the Philippine government’s commitment to combat trafficking and briefed him of the Aquino administration’s efforts to address this issue.




A Pulong Bayan (town hall meeting) was held with members of the Filipino community on Feb. 2, where he enumerated his programs for Overseas-Filipino Workers.  During this activity, he presented Mrs. Nina Solarz with the Philippine House resolution, honoring the late Cong. Stephen Solarz.


Mr. Binay also met Sen. Daniel Inouye, a longtime friend of the Philippines, and Rep. Jeff Miller, the new chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.


Mr. Binay also met with a number of think tanks, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Center for New American Security, Johns Hopkins University, Woodrow Wilson International Center, Heritage Foundation, and the National Democratic Institute.

The Vice President also brought a business delegation that had fruitful dialogue with members of the US Chamber of Commerce and US ASEAN Business Council.

Departing from the lavish dinners and fancy restaurants favored by Mrs. Arroyo and taking a cue from President Noynoy Aquino, Mr. Binay gamely accepted the invitation of the officials and staff of the Philippine Embassy to a dinner of pancit lomi at a Café at the Union Train Station. The gesture is a far cry from the expensive tastes of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose bills in 2009 in
New York’s Le Cirque and D.C.’s Bobby Van’s Steakhouse ran up to $20,000 and $15,000, respectively. The checks were later paid for by Arroyo’s political allies Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Quezon City Rep. Danilo Suarez.


A more-wasteful event still was the luncheon in a five-star hotel in Chicago, Illinois, paid in advance in the estimated amount of $10,000 (half-a-million pesos) by the Philippine Consulate of the Midwest that was never served to the Filipino community members when Mrs. Arroyo cut short her U.S. trip also in 2009 following the death of former President Cory Aquino.


When President Aquino ate out by a hotdog stand during his visit to the United Nations in New York last September, Mr. Aquino paid $45.00 for his party from his own pocket. In San Francisco suburb of Milpitas City, Mr. Aquino also lunched on chicken at Max Restaurant in the San Francisco suburb of Milpitas City for $15 to $20 a pop.


At the Café at the Union Train Station, serving a “fusion of Asian food” with a number of Filipino dishes, the pancit lomi cost $9 each.


The Café has a Filipino cook. The Vice President was joined at the dinner by his 18-member official party and some Philippine Embassy personnel rounding out to 30. Because of the ridiculously small amount of the check, whoever paid the estimated $270 or 12,000 pesos for pancit lomi must just have wanted to remain anonymous. # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (



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Last Updated on Monday, 07 February 2011 11:21

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