Bill Gates and wife visit Palawan

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Bill Gates and his wife Melinda arrive outside Number 10 Downing Street on October 18, 2010 in London, England.

(CNN Philippines) — Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates was in Palawan for three days this week to have a vacation and check out an investment opportunity, eyewitnesses told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Eyewitnesses at the Puerto Princesa City Airport said they saw Gates arrive onboard a Global Express private plane on Monday (April 6) with wife, Melinda Gates, and two of their three children.

An aircraft security procedure document obtained by the PNA showed that only the crew and an international security team was allowed to come near the plane.

They then took a privately-hired helicopter and headed for the luxury beach resort of Amanpulo.

According to the report, the business magnate, tagged by Forbes as the richest man on the planet for 16 years, also made a visit to an El Nido island he wanted to invest in.

The family reportedly flew back to Manila on Wednesday (April 8).

Earlier news reports stated that Gates went to Los Baños, Laguna to visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

IRRI confirmed Thursday (April 9) that senior officers of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation visited this week.

It did not state, however, if the Gates were among the delegation.

The visit was related to a partnership between the two organizations in developing Golden Rice — a genetically-engineered rice variety that contains beta carotene — which is one key project in the foundation’s larger Global Development Division.

According to the foundation, Golden Rice can help reduce the global problem on vitamin A deficiency which could lead to blindness and, in some cases, death.

Greenpeace, however, claim that the introduction of this genetically-engineered variety could negatively impact local livelihoods as traditional farmers could lose their markets.