With investors’ confidence on the Philippines back, Pres. Benigno Aquino III said he would like to see the impressive economic performance under his stewardship as the beginning of a long-term sea change for the country’s economy.
Pres. Aquino made the observation before the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) during the 2015 APEC CEO Summit dialogue at the Shangrila Hotel in Mandaluyong late Monday afternoon.
”Yes,” Pres. Aquino answered when asked by moderator CNN Asia Pacific editor Andrew Stevens if the economic gains achieved by the Aquino administration is the beginning of a long-term sea change for the Philippines’ economy.
Pres. Aquino informed the 2015 APEC CEOs that more foreign investors have expressed interest to expand their business in the country.
”All of them were stating basically the same thing: this is the right time to invest in the Philippines and we have already lost by not doing it earlier,” he said.
”So I guess the central message is, we really invite you to come in now rather than tell us two or three years from now that you should have listened to our advice,” he told the APEC CEOs.
Aside from bringing back the confidence of the foreign investors to the Philippines, Aquino said his administration worked hard to boost the infrastructure development despite some delays brought by legal issues.
”The infrastructure that we are building now or have built, some of them were promised to us in the ‘70s when I was in grade school. You know there is a major irrigation project that was first thought of when I was born. And now it’s here,” the President said.
”Now people are getting to see the real benefits of it. You know I am really trying to encapsulate it in a sentence something to the effect that oftentimes I am told, these were things we aspire to and dreamt about and thought we’d never see. And now it’s there,” he added.
In highlighting more achievements of his administration, Pres. Aquino said the county’s tourism has improved from 3 million to 5 million foreign tourists a year while exceeding the 35 million domestic tourism targets even two years after he assumed office in 2010.
He also shared the country’s success in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
”They have been a key factor in broadening the development of the country away from just a purely urban areas or the traditional areas of investment,” he said.
The President said manufacturing was also “an aspirational goal” when his six-year term started and now the industry has average of 8 percent growth for the last three years.
”So I guess there is so much interest in us, there are those that who used to partner with us that somehow forgot all about us that are coming back. There are those who are wondering why they never came here to begin with,” Pres. Aquino said.
He said his government has also invested in his bosses – the Filipino people – by tripling the budget for health and in education through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program that has already benefited 4.4 million poor families.
Whether the growth trajectory that his administration has achieved will continue beyond his term, the President said it would depend on the next leader that Filipinos would choose in the May 2016 elections.
”I told our countrymen when I endorse a candidate and I said: You know next year will be a referendum, did we do right or not? Did we fulfill our promises to you or not? And if we did, then the key to continuity is in your hands,” Pres. Aquino said.
He has endorsed presidential candidate Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II, grandson of former Philippine President Manuel Roxas, and vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo, wife of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash.
When asked to grade himself, Pres. Aquino said he would rather wait for the results of next year’s polls “and that will be the grade.” PNA