Philippines begins harnessing potentials, says Aquino

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page -

A FEW months before stepping down from power, President Aquino said his administration has laid the ground work that future administration could build on to further harness the country's potentials.

"Looking back on everything that has happened over the course of my administration, I tell you today the best news of all: we’ve only just begun," Aquino said in a speech during the 41st Philippine Business Conference held recently in Marriott Hotel.

"While we have already achieved so much, I submit that we have not even scratched the surface of what the Philippines has to offer, which is why we have to nurture these beginnings," he added.

According to Aquino, there's a need to protect the successes that the Filipino people have made and the country must continue to build on them.

Sustained good governance likewise means sustained good economics, he told businessmen. And if it's when bolstered by a depth of experience and ironclad integrity, it accelerates inclusive growth, he added.

At the same time, he said he is confident that like the rest of his countrymen all over the world, local businesses will do their part to ensure that the Philippines rises to greater heights.

"The world has already begun witnessing what the Filipino is capable of, and I am convinced that, if we continue working together, we can show them even more of our boundless potential, and ultimately prove that nothing is impossible to a united Philippine nation," Aquino said.

He said he already directed his Cabinet Secretary to prepare the appropriate response to some of the issues raised by the business sector although many of those concerns are now being addressed by the government.

"We’d like to tell you that a lot of it is already being addressed, and we’d like to tell you what to expect in the last eight months of our administration," he said.

Among the successes mentioned by Aquino include the rapid growth of the country's gross domestic product, with an average rate of 6.2% in the last five years of the administration. This is the fastest five-year average growth in nearly four decades. From 2010 to 2014, he said, the country increased net foreign direct investments by almost sixfold. The Philippines also recorded the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.

The Philippines also received 22 positive credit rating actions, with the most momentous ones coming in 2013, when Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s all declared the Philippines investment grade, Aquino further boasted.

The government, he added, has also vastly expanded the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, with around 4.4 million household beneficiaries receiving cash stipends. It has also implemented the K to 12 reforms to ensure that Filipino youth have a strong foundation for further learning or employment, he said.

"Technical and vocational education has perhaps never been stronger, especially now that our Technical Education and Skills Development Authority is working more closely with the private sector to implement training programs," Aquino said, adding, state universities and colleges are also implementing reforms to become truly relevant to the needs of communities they serve and the demands of the job market.

The Provincial Government of Cebu in coordination with the Local Government Unit of Borbon distributed relief assistance to El Niño affected families. A total of 995 individuals for the entire 19 barangays in Borbon received assistance. (Photo from Cebu City Government)

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