MANILA (UPDATED) - Even President Aquino seems to be reeling from the summer heat.
At the thanksgiving celebration of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the Chief Executive began his speech by saying in jest that he wished he was at the beach.
He also said by 2016, he will be enjoying the various tourist destinations of the Philippines.
"'Di ba, parang ganitong oras sana nasa beach tayo. Ako sa 2016 ho masusubukan ko na rin iyung ating tourist destinations," he said.
Aquino then discussed how for a time, riding a plane in the Philippines was such a gamble.
He said this has changed because of CAAP's work.
He thanked the CAAP for recent milestones in removing the Philippines from blacklists of the European Union, the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Aquino said Philippine tourism suffered because of bad aviation ratings under the previous administration.
He now expects tourist arrivals of as much as 10 million by 2016, with local carriers expanding their flight networks following the upgrade of the country's aviation rating.
“The situation was dire. These actions were a collosal blow to our economy. Some of our lucrative markets were becoming increasingly inaccessible to our investors and vice versa," Aquino said.
"On top of this, tourists from Europe and the United States who may have wanted to visit the Philippines found it much harder to discover how fun it is in our country. This is precisely why when we assumed office we knew we had to clear these bottlenecks in aviation, and today, I am proud to say that CAAP, under the leadership of Director General William Hotchkiss, has done just that," he added.
The thanksgiving celebration served as the culminating event after the CAAP successfully completed 3 specific objectives under the Aquino administration:
- Resolution of the ICAO's significant safety concerns on Philippine civil aviation in March 2013
- Lifting of the EU ban on Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific
- Reinstatement of United States Federal Aviation Administration (US FAA) Category 1 status for the Philippines