BIÑAN, LAGUNA: President Benigno Aquino 3rd did not announce any wage increase on Labor Day, but instead talked about the 2016 elections.
In his Labor Day speech on Thursday, the President took a swipe at government officials who are already laying the campaign groundwork for the polls.
He asked Filipinos to choose a leader who will continue the reforms begun by his administration.
“My request to you: If you believe that what we are doing is right, and you don’t want what we’ve started on the straight path to go to waste, let’s choose a leader who will continue and further improve on the reforms we’ve made,” Aquino said.
He said corruption and poverty persist in the Philippines because of leaders who place their personal interests ahead of the people’s welfare.
On Wednesday a Pulse Asia survey predicted that Vice President Jejomar Binay will be the runaway winner if the presidential elections were held today.
The survey, conducted from March 19 to 26, sees Binay obtaining 40 percent of the vote.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 3rd, Aquino’s running mate in the 2010 elections who lost to Binay, was in fifth place with 6 percent.
Roxas is said to be groomed as the Liberal Party standard-bearer for 2016.
The President spent the day visiting electronics factories in Laguna.
In the same speech, Aquino said among his administration’s biggest achievements were improving the manufacturing industry and job generation.
He cited the success of the Technical Educational Skills Development Authority’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP). He said in 2013, 130 scholars trained at Testech Incorporated, and 113 were hired.
The program also trained 100 scholars at Integrated Microelectronic Incorporated, and 400 at Alliance Mansols Incorporated, all of whom were employed.
The three companies are from the electronics and semiconductor industry, all of which the President visited.
“You see, we just did what was right. We talked to investors honestly, and the result: 91.43 percent employment rate at the semiconductors and electronic industry – just a little more and we will reach 100 percent,” he said
The President vowed to continue focusing on the labor sector, which he said is key to economic growth and poverty reduction.
In 2013, manufacturing grew by 22.8 percent, he said, boosted mainly by the electronics industry, which contributed 40.4 percent of the country’s exports worth $53.98 billion.
The President added that electronics exports accounted for about 18.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
He said “every initiative of ours in the past years, according to NEDA, will decrease the number of Filipinos under the poverty line by 3 percentage points from the first semester of 2012, towards 2013.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE