Good governance and reforms in doing business have restored confidence in the Philippines, thus moving the economy faster, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
In his speech, Aquino said the country’s first investment grade rating and improvement in the global competitive index were results of his administration’s anti-corruption platform of “Daang matuwid [straight path].”
The Philippines got investment grade rating in 2013 from Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.
“Naging malinaw ang mensahe: Seryoso tayo sa pagbabago; patas ang laban dito. Ang resulta: kumpiyansa sa ating ekonomiya. Nang nagsisimula pa lang tayo, hindi ko inasahang manunumbalik agad ang tiwala ng mundo sa Pilipinas. Ang inisip ko lang po noon: Itigil ang kalokohang umiiral sa sistema, para mahinto ang palubog nang sitwasyon ng ating kababayang naghihikahos sa kahirapan (The message was clear: We are serious in implementing change, we leveled the playing field. The result: confidence in our economy. When we started, I did not expect that the world’s confidence on the country would be restored in a snap.
What I only wanted was to stop the shenanigans to prevent the poor from being mired further in poverty),” he said.
Aquino reiterated that the Philippines has become “Asia’s Rising Tiger” and “Asia’s Bright Spot” during his term.
Citing figures, Aquino said the “direct result” of reforms launched via “daang matuwid” include an increase in net foreign direct investments to $6.2 billion in 2014 from $1.07 billion in 2010, a record high.
He also touted the P2 trillion domestic investment since 2010 and the 3-percent average growth in the manufacturing sector from 2001 to 2009.
“Malinaw ang sinasabi nito sa mga negosyante: Sulit mamuhunan sa Pilipinas; nabawasan na ang peligro sa pagnenegosyo dito. Ngayon, mas mababa ang interes at mas mahaba ang panahon ng pagbabayad ng utang, na nakakaengganyo sa mga negosyanteng tumaya sa Pilipinas,” he said.
Aquino also boasted that the unemployment rate has reached a decade-low 6.8 percent. Also, the number of overseas Filipino workers went down from 9.51 million in 2011 to 9.07 million on 2014.
He said the Philippines will reach first world status if the reforms that he started will be continued.
Also in his speech, Aquino trumpeted the record-high revenue collections during his five-year administration.
He cited in particular the dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) which reached P131.28 billion, higher than the P84.18 billion remitted during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term.
Aquino also took pride in the revenue collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), noting that the agency is poised to collect P1.5 trillion by the end of 2015.
From a high of P778.6 billion in the past administration, Aquino said the BIR was able to collect P1.06 trillion in 2012.