President Benigno Aquino 3rd called on investors to place their money on the Philippines as he boasted that his administration is “making history” in terms of economic gains and promising that greater things are yet to come.
Speaking at the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum held in Makati City, Aquino cited the economic gains during his term, ticking off other accomplishments such as record foreign direct investments, improved global competitiveness and credit rating upgrades.
The president said these economic gains “have led to even greater optimism for our country’s prospects.”
“To those who are here to take a closer look at the Philippines, I invite you: Bet on the Filipino people, and discover for yourself how it’s more fun and more profitable to do business in the Philippines,” he said.
“If, on the other hand, you decline this invitation, perhaps I may pose a question, how confident are you that you will never say: we missed such a good opportunity?” he added.
“The tremendous amount of confidence the global community has developed for the Philippines is incredibly gratifying, especially considering that, not too long ago, we were known as the ‘Sick Man of Asia’,” Aquino said. “However, our administration remains hard at work so that we can maximize every opportunity available to us, and I think many of you will agree with me when I say: You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The president said the Philippines is “poised for even more success” and “there is indeed much reason for optimism.”
“These past few years, our people have proven themselves to the world. But having been exposed to the skill, talent, loyalty, and resilience of so many of our countrymen, I know that we have only scratched the surface,” he said.
Aquino said his administration allotted a bigger budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways from P165 billion in 2010 to almost P570 billion in 2015, and to have infrastructure spending comprise five percent of GDP by 2016.
He said his administration is also focused on accelerating infrastructure development through the Public-Private Partnership program (PPP).
Under his watch, Aquino said nine projects have been awarded, 16 are in the process of being bid out, and over 30 other projects are in various stages of development.
He said the government is focused on developing the power supply situation, noting that “48 committed incoming power projects with 4,693.6 megawatts of power are expected to come online between now and 2018.”
“Out of these 48 power plants, 21 will be from renewable energy, in line with our goal of diversifying our energy mix and building a power supply that is as clean and reasonably priced as possible,” the president said.
“As you can see, we are determined to continue treading green pathways to development, and to maintain our status as one of the driving forces for clean energy in the region,” he added.
President Aquino also addressed the realization of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) expected by the end of the year, saying Philippines “is taking every possible measure to take on a more dynamic economic role in the region.”
“Our compliance rate in the AEC scorecard in terms of our commitments to AEC 2015 is now at around 86 percent. I have already signed crucial laws that will help us meet our financial integration commitments, including an Act Strengthening the Insurance Industry and the Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines,” he said.
For the remainder of his term, the government “will continue expanding the range of financial tools available in our country, so we can maximize the advantages of integration,” Aquino added.
He also discussed the empowerment of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that will “establish economic dynamos in even the most remote parts of the nation,” which could become “one of the strongest and most direct tools towards inclusive growth.”
To accomplish this, he said the SME Roving Academy has conducted more than 1,871 training sessions focused on skills training, product pricing and costing, business planning, entrepreneurship development, and financial management, which has helped more than 85,000 potential and established entrepreneurs.
Aquino said he also signed the Go Negosyo Act that will build business centers that will offer MSMEs a full range of services, including business registration processing, training sessions and seminars, and the establishment of market linkages.
“By the end of this year, we intend on putting up 100 of these establishments across the archipelago,” the president said.
“Rest assured, our administration will do everything in its power to build on our economic momentum by continuing to invest in the Filipino people,” he added.