MANILA – "Wala pong duda, more open for business na nga po ang Pilipinas."
President Aquino earned another round of applause after this statement during his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday.
Aquino said this after boasting that the aviation industry is improving following the International Civil Aviation Organization's lifting of the ban for direct international flights. These improvements attracted more investors to the country.
In his speech, the President enumerated three investment-grade ratings that the country was able to accumulate last year from Fitch's, Standard & Poors, and Moody's Investor Service.
Last May, S&P stepped up the country's rating from BBB-, which is the lowest investment grade rating, to BBB.
Aquino also shared how the Philippines is catching up with the other leading countries in Asia in terms of economic improvement.
The President presented statistics showing that unemployment rate has decreased as more attention is given to labor problems.
Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Ed Lacson said he sees hopes the President's proposal to approve a supplemental budget for this year in Congress will help clear the air on issues surrounding government savings.
Lacson said the speech met his expectations especially when Aquino noted the campaign to clean the government of corrupt practices.
He believes that this will help him gain trust from the public amid the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) controversy.
"Marami namang expectation ng mga negosyante ang nai-deliver naman within his four years, kagaya ng paglilinis ng gobyerno, nai-deliver niya ‘yun kaya nga tumaas ang tiwala ng taong bayan sa gobyerno,
Meanwhile, the Makati Business Club (MBC) lauded Aquino's declaration that the “Filipino is worth fighting for,” saying this gives them hope that the administration will continue its reforms and pursue inclusive growth.
"We applaud the President's reaffirmation that the Philippines is worth dying for, living for and fighting for. That gives us all hope that the reforms will continue, that good governance will continue and that inclusive growth will continue to be pursued,” said MBC executive director Peter Perfecto.
The MBC also said they are optimistic the President listened and will deliver on their recommendations for his last two years in office.
"The business sector sent its recommendations for his last two years and we remain optimistic that, though not mentioned in the SONA speech, the government will listen and deliver," said Perfecto.
Greg Navarro, president of Management Association of the Philippines, said there were several accomplishment reports presented but what to expect next was not mentioned.
He was waiting for the President to mention the Freedom of Information bill, economic and trade plans, and industry road maps.
"I think the main objective of this SONA is to appeal for continued trust and support and we have to see the people's reaction," he said.