French PM rides jeepney, tours Fuente, Mactan shrine

Posted on October 21, 2012

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AMID tight security, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his delegation got a glimpse of Cebu City’s landscape during his four-hour stopover yesterday.

Ayrault, his wife Brigitte and his delegation came from Manila and were received by Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia upon their arrival at the Mactan Cebu International Airport at 10 a.m

The presence of French government security augmented by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and the national police kept news media and onlookers at a distance.

Ayrault and his delegation first visited the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and then headed to Fuente Osmeña.

Ayrault and his wife joined Governor Garcia in riding one of two rented jeepneys driven by PSG personnel.

The jeepneys travelled the one kilometer distance from Fuente Osmeña Circle where a BRT station will be located to the Capitol building here Ayrault was briefed on the BRT by Citom chief Rafael Yap of the BRT Technical Working Group.

“We showed them what the face of Fuente Osmena looks like,” said Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chairman Rafael Yap.

At 12 noon, the Prime Minister attended the inauguration of the Alliance Francaise de Cebu building in Gorordo Avenue.

At 1:30 p.m. they were toured around the Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City by Mayor Radaza and city officials.They witnessed cultural dance performances and games with children.

“Amazing! Amazing people! They have their own way of getting out of misery, very smiling people,” Ayrault told reporters.

He said it was his first time to visit Cebu and that he hopes to do it again.Yap said they invited Ayrault to visit Cebu in 2015 when the BRT will be opeartional. The prime minister just smiled in response to their invitation./ Correspondents Norman V. Mendoza and Tweeny M. Malinao

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