MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino highlighted the gains of his administration before foreign delegates of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors on Friday.
In his speech, Aquino trumpeted his government's anti-corruption campaign which, he said, restored investor confidence in the country.
"All these efforts have allowed us to reclaim our national honor. They have boosted confidence in our country, restored the citizenry's morale and are reaping dividends on the economic front. Investors and Filipinos alike are seeing what is happening. Here's a country determined to turn a corner by insituting genuine, wide-ranging meaningful reform and acting on its belief that good governance is the bedrock of equitable progress," he said.
Aquino delivered his message to the 66 governors of ADB in attendance, as well as finance and economic planning ministers of the ADB member-countries and representatives from the multilateral banking community.
"Weeding out corruption allows for a more fertile economic landscape. One that not only brings investors in but also allows the real work of governance to impact a greater number of people," he said.
Credit rating upgrades
Barely two years in office, Aquino noted the Philippines has received 6 positive ratings from the credit ratings agencies under his administration, in contrast to the single upgrade and 6 downgrades in the 9 years of the previous administration.
Aquino also cited the fact that the government's peso-denominated bonds were oversubscribed, and the country is only a year away from being a net exporter of rice.
He said the government's social welfare flagship--Conditional Cash Transfer program--is benefiting 3 million poor families, from just 800,000 in 2010. The PhilHealth program is sponsoring 5.2 million of the country's poor families.
"Our people have always been our greatest competitive advantage and our efforts are focused on investing in them. We are making sure that opportunity, wealth and power are distributed equitably among out citizenry. This is the key to ensuring that equal opportunity brings social and political stability," he said.
The President said the government has allocated unprecedented sums to alleviate poverty and to provide more opportunities for employment.
Aquino said 10 public-private partnership projects are set to be rolled out this year, which would include schools and extensions to train systems.
'Leading by example'
The President emphasized that good governance encourages inclusive growth.
"Being steadfast in our principles, leading by example and sending a clear signal that corruption would not be tolerated gives us a certain measure of confidence that the P568.6 billion we allocated to social services will go where it is supposed to go," he said.
He cited the ADB's official development assistance to the Philippines which amounted to $761.97 million, including $643.85 million for social protection, agrarian reform, rural infrastructure, healthcare credit and irrigation projects.
With the ADB holding its annual meeting in Manila, Aquino said this only reaffirmed the international community's renewed confidence in the Philippines.
"For this you have the gratitude of our people and a commitment from my administration. Gone are the days when the funds you funneled to our country will end up like water leaking through a broken pail. You will continue to see results. You will continue to see a Philippines that is finally living up to its potential. We are prepared to follow through on our commitments," he said.
"Change has set in the Philippines, and we are open for business."