Aquino trumpets economic gains at WEF

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2014 05:52 PM | Updated as of May 23 2014 04:51 PM

President Aquino talks to business leaders from around the world during the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on East Asia where he touted his administration's gains. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for

MANILA, Philippines - The South China Sea dispute and non-inclusive growth marred the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on East Asia as Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung repeated his condemnation of the acts of China.

Dung appeared to be reporting to the audience -- which includes some of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen in the region, about what he believed were the illegal activities of China --one of the world’s largest economies.

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reminded businessmen to make sure that growth and economic progress leave no one behind.

Yudhoyono spoke after President Aquino touted his administration’s gains and high economic growth rate, while again lashing out at the previous administrations.

Yudhoyono made the remarks as Aquino, Dung and Myanmar’s Vice President U Nyan Tun addressed the opening plenary of the WEF on East Asia.

"Economic growth and equitable progress are not necessarily the same thing,” Yudhoyono said. "It doesn’t matter how many billionaires emerge for so long as those at the bottom also get a ladder to better life."

He said education and entrepreneurship are key to addressing poverty.

Aquino, for his part, talked about the Philippine economy's turnaround.

"Our country is in the midst of a dramatic turnaround in every sector, and we are intent on continuing this trend and making certain that each and every Filipino enjoys the full dividends of progress. All signs for the future are pointing upward," Aquino said.

Myanmar's Tun said: "Positive relationships between Asian nations can lead to increase economic growth."

Earlier, Aquino couldn't help but again lash out at former Presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

"During the martial law years,our fate became dependent on the will and the whims of a dictator who put himself ahead of all other considerations. In 2010, it was once again the collective efforts of our people that helped me get elected me into office, after they took a stand, and firmly decided to turn their back on almost a decade of corruption and impunity—a decade of lost opportunities," he said.

"My predecessor is now undergoing hospital arrest as she undergoes two serious charges, with another being evaluated by the Ombudsman. The Congress and the Senate removed a Chief Justice from office for failing to declare over 98 percent of his assets in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth contrary to our constitution and our laws," he added.

At the WEF, the Philippines was recognized for its high economic potential. But some analysts have remained skeptical, saying more needs to be done.