PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday urged business leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to “expand connections and forge stronger relationships” with their counterparts in the Philippines which he said is now the bright spot in Asia.
“The success story of the Philippines thus far is proof positive that, with the desire to uplift our fellowmen, and the dedication to work alongside each other, we can reach greater heights. May I invite you then to consider joining us, working with us even more, in harnessing the opportunities and potentials in our country today,” the President said during a courtesy call by members of the Asean Business Club.
Aquino encouraged the Asean businessmen, who are here to attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia, to make the best out of the Asean integration in 2015 which, he said, promises “meaningful progress.”
“With the Philippines on an economic upswing and the integration of Asean on the horizon, we are poised on the edge of even more meaningful progress, progress that we can realize today, in this visit, and in what I trust will be many more visits to
come,” he stressed.
In his speech, the President highlighted the importance of good governance that, in turn, draws people support “in pursuing further reforms.”
“The commitment to good governance has already borne fruit. Just to give a couple of examples: The Philippines has consistently bucked the global trend, with economic growth remaining high, and even surpassing our targets. This is partly because, to a certain extent, external volatility and subdued global demand has not affected the country, since we are neither resource-dependent nor export-oriented,” he noted.
Aquino said the information technology-business process outsourcing (BPO) sector continues to remain a strong driver of growth, while manufacturing is experiencing a resurgence because of, among other factors, robust domestic demand.
“This strong domestic demand is another indication of the potential that investors see in the Philippines, on top of our administration’s commitment to good governance, strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and the credit-rating upgrades we have received from all three major credit-rating agencies, placing us at investment grade or higher. No longer are we the Sick Man in Asia; we are now Asia’s bright spot, a viable destination for investments and tourists,” he added.
“It is [also]because of the Filipino people’s solid backing that we were able to pass politically complex legislation that had languished in Congress for far so long. It is because of them that a just and lasting peace in the southernmost part of our country is finally within our grasp, fostering greater stability across the entire archipelago,” Aquino said.
Aquino underscored the importance of interacting and working together and “to exchange best practices and even coordinate efforts toward achieving inclusive and sustainable prosperity and progress.”
“These are the very same truths that have ignited the resurgence of our country.
Whenever my administration is lauded for the progress our country has made, we are always quick to remind the world: The transformation of the Philippines is a collective achievement, built on the shoulders of a people prepared to undertake the difficult task of reform together,” he said.