MANILA - President Aquino thanked the international community for the aid and assistance that the Philippines received following calamities that hit the country recently, including the earthquake in Central Visayas and typhoon Yolanda.
Speaking at the New Year’s vin d’honneur at the Palace, Aquino thanked the diplomats for the generosity of the countries they represent, saying they have become “partners” in addressing the “challenges” of several calamities.
"To everyone gathered here, it is with a sincere sense of gratitude that I tell you: the Filipino people remember who their friends are. Filipinos never forget an instance of kindness, and will constantly look for ways to repay those who stood by them in the most difficult times. In our language, we call this 'utang ng loob,'" Aquino said.
"As President, I am filled with happiness and hope, knowing full well that the New Year provides many opportunities to deepen our cooperation and strengthen the partnerships we have forged."
Aquino also paid tribute to volunteers, donors, OFWs and Filipino communities overseas who responded to the call for help after a series of calamities, including the onslaught of typhoon Pablo, the Habagat, and the crisis brought about by the attack of MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City.
He also cited the role of social workers and scientists in the government’s preparation and response.
He said the efforts and attitude of the people demonstrate that “transformation is becoming permanent.”
He spoke of how Filipinos “came through” despite the calamities, especially after Yolanda, which he said “tested the determination” of the people.
"Some of you have marveled at the resilience of our nation, a people whose faith, though challenged, remained constant and only deepened. Our unbreakable spirit and ability to recover find root in our firm belief in a benevolent God who has the perfect plan for all of us. These tragedies tell us that, despite all our efforts, we are indeed powerless without God," he said.