By Filane Mikee Z. Cervantes
MANILA, Nov. 16 (PNA) — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos arrived in Manila on Monday afternoon to take part in the world Pacific Alliance dialogue during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting from Nov. 18 to 19.
The Colombian military aircraft carrying Santos arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Pasay City at 4:25 p.m.
He was earlier expected to arrive at around 9 a.m. Monday, but his flight was delayed.
Colombia has been invited as a guest country at the high-level economic forum and will attend the Pacific Alliance dialogue together with the Latin American APEC members Chile, Peru, and Mexico.
Held at the presence of the other APEC leaders, this dialogue among the four Pacific Alliance presidents will serve as a venue to identify possible areas of future collaboration and examine the integration process on both mechanisms.
The Colombian President was welcomed by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Jesus Domingo, Philippine Ambassador to Colombia Tito Saul Penilla, Jorge Araneta, and Honorary Consul of Colombia Stella Marquez, among others.
Aside from Santos, two high-profile leaders also arrived on Monday — Chinese Taipei’s former Vice President Vincent Siew at NAIA Terminal 1, and Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the Villamor Air Base.
Meanwhile, Chile’s first woman president, Michelle Bachelet, was the first among the economic leaders to arrive in the country on Sunday afternoon to undertake her first state visit in the Philippines and hold bilateral talks with President Benigno Aquino III.
Pacific Alliance is a regional group in Latin America comprised of four countries — Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile.
The 21 APEC member-economies are the United States, Japan, China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. (PNA)