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PNoy’s ‘wang wang’

phpwOysQoBy Bing C. Branigin

Well, good thing that President Aquino decided to drop-by Washington, DC., last September 21. His chartered plane from New York landed at Dulles at 10:15 a.m.

He was met at the airport by Amb. Jose L. Cuisia, Consul General Domingo Nolasco, the PSG, close-in media, and US Secret Service.

His motorcade had a few police motorcycles, 4 squad cars, several suburban vehicles, and Philippine Embassy cars.

The long convoy immediately left the airport and drove through congested Route 66, no worries, there were lots of sirens (wang wangs) blaring, and security cars stopping traffic and the convoy arrived at the Philippine Embassy in almost 30 minutes. Immediately, the officials and staff had their photo-opportunity with PNoy, cabinet officials and his official party.

Ambassador Cuisia invited the president and his party to the ambassador’s conference room on the second floor where they had lunch: cheeseburger and coke ordered from Fudruckers.

After lunch, PNoy, with Sec. Albert del Rosario, Amb. Cuisia, and others, motored to the capitol for his scheduled call on Sen. Daniel Inouye.

From Capitol Hill, the President proceeded to the Washington Post building to meet with the editorial staff.

Again, police sirens were screaming, traffic was stopped and President Aquino emerged from the assigned Suburban with security, aides, Cabinet officials, RTVM, and some assistants.

The group was met at the lobby by Fred Hiatt, editorial page chief.

Inside the Washington Post conference room were three other senior editor.

From the Philippine side, President Aquino, Sec. Albert del Rosario, Secretary Mar Roxas,Secretary  Cesar Purisima, Secretary Butch Abad, Sec. Dinky Soliman, Secretary, Ricky Carandang, Secretary Domingo, Amb. Jose L. Cuisia, Amb, Perez Rubio, DFA Assistant Secretary Patricia V. Paez, Cristino Naguiat, PAGCOR, Consul Emil Fernandez, aides, and several security.

The 4 senior editors were pleased with Pnoy’s candid answers, relaxed demeanor  and his grasp of issues affecting his country.

The meeting was short, in fact, the Washington Post editor observed that a few of the officials with the President started to leave the room while he was still talking and answering questions.

Next stop was the World Bank.

At the Black auditorium of the World Bank, it was packed with Filipino IMF/World Bank/IFC group, and their families, friends, Philippine embassy officials, Philippine delegation, media, and a few non Filipinos among the almost 300 capacity crowd.

Again, the President impressed his audience with his answers during the Q and A.

Since he was doing very well in time. The President decided to freshen up at the assigned room for him at the Madison Hotel, where the advance party, and other Filipino officials are billeted.

Meanwhile at the Fairfax Hotel, Filipino Americans started to arrive and have their credentials checked by Philippine Embassy staffers. Good thing that majority came early and presented their invitations. As usual, some came with out RSVP, or did not follow the date they should have confirmed.

They expected to be let in because of their organization, etc.

One very fair looking community leader was even heard saying, “sorry, I confirmed only yesterday because I am busy”, duh!

Kudos to the embassy and others who sent out the invitation. The room was filled with OFW’s, teachers, nurses, musicians, contract workers, veterans, etc.

Consul Corina Apostol introduced the officials accompanying the president, introduced both Filipino American and Filipino officials, and acknowledged the representations from the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

It was also great that Carlo Parapara, representing the Filipino teachers, and other OFW’s, Celestino Almeda, Filipino veterans, and outstanding Filipino American in the DC area, Teresita Alarcon, founder of the Feed the Hungry, were chosen to meet with PNoy and sat at the stage.

With the president at the photo-op were Sec. Albert del Rosario, Sec. Mar Roxas, and Amb. Jose L. Cuisia.

Embassy staff and officials opted to stand up and acted as host, ushers, etc.

The other Cabinet officials, senior aides, elected officials bankers, were seated on the first two rows, the rest were for the invited guests, around 350.

Reading from a tele-prompter, PNoy delivered his speech quickly, then the photo-op. Consul Apostol instructed the guests on how to proceed with the photo-op.

The first group followed the instructions accordingly.

But after that, it became a nightmare for the security. Filipino American leaders started lingering longer, giving PNoy letters, photos, asking for his autograph, etc.

So, Malacanang officials jumped in and started moving people.

Several times, Corina begged the people to keep moving but no one listened.

The president left the hotel immediately drove to Dulles to catch his chartered flight to San Francisco where he took PAL back to Manila.

Amb. Cuisia, Con. Gen. Ding Nolasco, Maj. Gen. Cesar Yano, were in the convoy of vehicles that brought the President to the airport.

Aside from PNoy, those who went with him were Amb. Albert del Rosario, Sec. Ricky Carandang, Sec. Domingo, Cristino Naguiat, PAGCOR, senior aides, and security.

Meanwhile back at the Fairfax Hotel, some guests were at the second floor for the merienda prepared by the Philippine Embassy for the guests.

Unfortunately, some were not able to partake of it because some people decided to park themselves in the lone round-table where the food was placed. They ignored the others who were in line so some left disgusted and decided to eat at the restaurant in the hotel, others were seen at some restaurants near the area.

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