PNoy assures glowing economy at end of term
PH tagged as ‘rising economic star’
BALI, INDONESIA - President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday promised that he will step down from office at the end of his term with a glowing economy.
He also expressed confidence that the reforms he has introduced will continue after he steps down from office in 2016.
“There are decisions that need to be made that are not politically palatable but are politically correct. You are not afraid to make unpopular decisions if you are not worried of the next elections, otherwise there is the temptation to try and please the people all the time even if the decisions are not correct,” Aquino said during a forum at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
Asked how the Philippines can ensure that growth will continue even after he steps down three years from now, Aquino said it is the people who would decide which aspiring leader could continue the government's sound policies.
“If our people will be used to this kind of governance, whoever will be perceived as the one who will continue our reforms will get elected,” Aquino said.
He also spoke of the advantages of having a one-term presidency as he explained why the country's Constitution barred presidents from seeking another term, citing the country's experience with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who overstayed in power until 1986.
He said that "good governance leads to good economics" and enables government to address disasters and crises, citing the government's ability to fund and help rebuild affected communities following the Zamboanga standoff.
The Philippines received glowing feedback from summit participants with the chief executive of Bank Negara describing the country as a "rising economic star."
During the forum, Aquino shared ways on how his administration has promoted inclusive growth, citing the expansion of the conditional cash transfer program as a way of promoting income.
He also mentioned education, giving access to information on family planning, and the passage of the sin tax law to fund universal health care to promote equitable distribution of wealth.
"On top of fostering stability, social inclusiveness also empowers citizens to become bona fide economic actors that can productively contribute to nation-building. It allows them to buy into the system, from which they can reap benefits," he said in his prepared remarks.
Meanwhile, he also blamed corruption for "stunting" the country's opportunities and development and cited successes of his administration's anti-corruption campaign.
"In all cases, the integrity of public finances and resources from which government intervention is sourced must be protected. The Philippines has had an unfortunate history of corruption and non-transparent governance that had stunted the influx of opportunities and stifled the government's ability to execute anti-poverty strategies," he said.
"In the last three years, significant gains have been achieved in weeding out corrupt officials, instituting more open governance, and eliminating leakages in the system. In many ways, however, this task will continue to be a challenge in the years to come," he said.
Aquino, likewise, cited his administration's investments in agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure to drive growth, saying that the Philippines is on its way to becoming self-sufficient in rice.
Making a pitch for Philippine tourism, he invited summit participants to visit the Philippines as well.
"You have also perhaps heard of our flagship campaign for our tourism industry. I invite you to witness for yourself that, indeed, 'It's more fun in the Philippines'. You will see that the entire population is living out this slogan with pride, bolstering both foreign and domestic tourist arrivals towards unprecedented highs," he said. – with reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News