Rambler Ramos seeks $40m
JOEL PALACIOS in Manila
President Fidel Ramos, dubbed 'the footloose leader' because of his frequent trips abroad, has asked Congress for 137 million pesos (HK$40.66 million) to visit 11 countries next year.
Mr Ramos wants to make the trips 'to meet international commitments and reciprocate visits by other leaders'.
Executive Secretary Ruben Torres said the President wanted to travel to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia.
Mr Torres said the visits would be compressed in 'five trips', but the details were still being planned by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Ramos has made 22 overseas trips, which brought him to 30 countries, since he came to power in 1992. He travelled to Thailand and Japan early this year and his most recent trip took him to Brunei, where he attended the royal wedding of the Sultan's eldest daughter.
Records show he spent 565 million pesos on trips in the past two years, which opposition members of Congress say has remained 'unliquidated'.