BALI, INDONESIA – Despite the positive economic growth, Malacañang admitted it is "not happy" with it not being as inclusive as expected given the current unemployment and poverty numbers.
The Philippines is therefore hoping to attract more investments to create additional jobs as President Aquino meets with 20 other leaders of Asia Pacific economies in the APEC Leaders' Meeting.
Aquino will be promoting the country as an investment destination and will discuss reform measures that his administration has undertaken, as well as trumpet recent economic achievements.
"We've seen rapid growth in the last three years. But we are not happy that the growth has not been as inclusive as we want. We have social interventions and you know all about them… the health care, the education, the CCT (conditional cash transfer), but we feel that we need to make a bigger push for investments because investments is what really going to sustain the economic momentum that we have," Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said on Saturday.
"So as always, the President is going to take every opportunity to meet with world leaders and international business community to push for investments in the Philippines."
Carandang explained that Filipinos back home will benefit directly from these investments through the jobs that will be generated.
"Doon sa pag-uusap natin sa mga investors, may mga pumasok. Then 'yung pakinabang natin doon would be very concrete in terms of the amount of money that is poured into our country, in terms of the amount of jobs that are generated by those investments," he said.
He, however, said that the effects of these investments would take time before they are felt by the people.
"It doesn't happen overnight," Carandang said.
He cited as an example a Thai conglomerate that the Philippines had discussions with in 2010 which resulted in investments in the Philippines a year later after a series of meetings and investments.
"So it's not something that you meet with them today and tomorrow, they announce an investment. This is a process that goes on over several months and in the end, we do hope that it leads to significant investments and job creation," Carandang said.
Aquino arrives in Bali Sunday noon and will address the APEC CEO Summit Conversation with Leaders in the afternoon where he will speak on theme "Why Inclusive Growth Matters," along with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand and President Ollanta Humala of Peru.
He will be "sharing Philippine strategies, initiatives, and accomplishments on this particular area," according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
VALUE OF MEETING WITH LEADERS
Carandang pointed out the value of meeting with world leaders as a means of deepening personal and the countries' ties.
He said this would make leaders accessible to each other.
"Those relationships become very important when you have disputes. Mas madaling tawagan ni Pangulong Aquino ang prime minister ng Malaysia o ang presidente ng Indonesia dahil magkakilala na sila. So it's easier for them to reach agreement and consensus on issues and understand each other positions kasi magkakilala sila. That's hard to measure but I think in terms of furthering our interests with our neighbors, it's also very valuable," he said.
NO MEETING WITH CHINA
Aquino will have no bilateral meeting, however, with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the summit.
Carandang said both sides think that a face-to-face meeting will not do much to change the respective positions of the two countries on the territorial disputes.
"Diplomatic efforts on both sides take time and at the proper time and I think both our countries will decide when is the proper time for us to have a face-to-face discussions. Clearly, neither side believes at this point that face-to-face meetings will change much. So let's see how the issue plays out," Carandang said.
The country has brought the territorial row before the international tribunal, a step which China has rejected.
"Neither side at this point believes it's a good time to meet. We respect that. At some point as this issue evolves, there will be discussions, I suppose, and at the end of the day we all want the same thing. We want peace, we want resolution to these issues. And if these issues can't be resolved right away, then in the meantime, we want to make sure that it doesn't lead to more tensions or to even violent confrontation. We're all after the same thing. I guess we just have different ways of going about it," he said.
NO OBAMA MEETING TOO
US President Barack Obama will be absent in the APEC meetings due to the federal government shutdown.
Carandang thinks that Obama's absence also in the ASEAN meetings in Brunei the following week will not affect the country's position negatively, pointing out that US Secretary of State John Kerry will be representing Obama in the meetings.