MANILA – Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates left the Philippines on board a private plane last Thursday afternoon after a 12-day research and relaxation visit in the country.
Gates, together with his family, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on April 4. Immigration sources confirmed that a certain William Henry Gates and his wife, Melinda, arrived in the country and were scheduled to fly back to the United States last April 16.
Gates reportedly spent almost two weeks in exclusive island resort Amanpulo in Palawan. He also went to see his team at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna, where his foundation was a major benefactor. He toured in the facilities and got updates on the institute’s latest projects.
“We are thankful that the BMGF (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) has come for updates on the food and nutrition security initiatives that they support,” IRRI director general Robert Zeigler said.
“The foundation is a staunch partner in applying the best of science so that people in the rice-eating world will not go hungry,” he added.
BMGF’s sponsorship on the IRRI is part of the foundation’s vision to end poverty and hunger through agricultural development and innovation.
“We think the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries. They will have unprecedented opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food, and benefit from mobile banking,” Gates and Melinda said in their annual foundation letter.
“These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology – ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets – and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people,” they added.
Gates’ visit was kept private as there were no reports of his travel to Palawan and Laguna. He also withdrew the national government’s request for a courtesy call.