PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday led the inauguration of Petron’s first gasoline station in Kuala Lumpur during the first day of his state visit.
The President left Thursday morning for Malaysia with a 57-man delegation, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Andrea Abad, Mindanao Development Authority Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino and presidential protocol chief Celia Anna Feria.
Aquino left Manila around 11:30 a.m. on a chartered flight and arrived in Kuala Lumpur shortly before 4 p.m.
Coloma said Aquino immediately proceeded to the inauguration of the fuel station operated by Petron Malaysia, which is its first fuel station that had been constructed and not converted from ExxonMobil.
At present, Petron Malaysia has 558 gasoline stations in Malaysia, with 290 converted stations from ExxonMobil.
The Petron station is equipped with 16 fuel dispensers, prayer rooms and Treats convenience store.
Petron Malaysia is the third top oil player in Malaysia following Petronas and Shell.
After the event, Aquino met with the Filipino community in Malaysia where he updated the Filipinos about the recent economic developments in the country and thanked them for their continued support when the country was devastated by several natural calamities like typhoon Yolanda.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said the Aquino government will spend P9 million for the two-day state visit which ends tomorrow.
Ochoa earlier said the President will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Najib Razak where they are expected to discuss political, economic and defense cooperation.
The two leaders will also witness the signing of agreements or cooperation on cultural and education cooperation after their bilateral meeting.
After the event, Aquino will host a coffee interview with the Philippine media, followed by the Business Opportunities Forum with the Malaysian businessmen where he is also expected to meet company executives Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, the president and CEO of Maybank Berhad; Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Air Asia Berhad; Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and chief executive of the Genting Berhad; David Chua, director, chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong Ltd; and Andrew Tan, chairman and CEO of Alliance Global Group Inc.
Ambassador Eduardo Malaya said the forum would provide the President an opportunity to engage the Malaysian businessmen and invite them to invest in the country.
“I think that they are looking forward to seeing the President, meeting the President, listening to what he would say, particularly also in the backdrop of this is the breakthrough in the peace process because imagine the opportunities that would be unlocked with peace in Bangsamoro, and all of these, of course, would further boost the continued growth of the Philippine economy,” he added.
Among the Malaysian companies already operating in the Philippines include Shangri-La Hotel, the Resorts World, Air Asia, Burjaya, Maybank, and AlloyMTD.
In Malaysia, Philippine companies that are active include Robina Corp., Motolite batteries, Pancake House, Yellowcab and Petron.
After the business forum, King Yang Di-Pertuan Agong will host a state banquet for President Aquino before he returns to Manila.