Saturday, October 27, 2012

P-Noy on Phl becoming a tiger economy: The trick is going back to basics

SYDNEY – President Aquino believes the trickle-down effect of his reforms are felt because the delivery of basic services to the people have improved as a direct result of his drive to weed out corruption and spend the people’s money better. The President also said his government would continue to focus on agriculture, tourism and infrastructure to grow the economy and make the Philippines truly a tiger economy in Southeast Asia. Aquino had separate meetings with investors here, including Telstra, AG & P, Macquarie and Austal to discuss their businesses in the country. The President said he would disagree with criticisms that the reforms and economic growth were not yet being felt. He said it might be anecdotal but the conditional cash transfer program, for instance, was very much appreciated by beneficiaries. Aquino noted the amount might be small but it had been of big help to those who had been receiving it. The President said his sitio electrification program drove an elderly to remark that they thought they would die without having electricity. He said even farmers were getting much more assistance now and though many were “anecdotal,” they would not deny the fact that things were changing. Aquino said his public satisfaction, approval and trust ratings should serve as a guide that the actions of the government were being felt. “Siguro sila na at nasabi na doon sa mga survey kung saan mas maganda pa ‘yung survey natin kaysa ‘nung nag-umpisa tayo. E ‘yun ang pinaka-pruweba ‘non na nadadama nila,” Aquino said during a media briefing here Thursday night on the side of his state visit to this country. In his forum with the businessmen organized by the Asia Society, Aquino said the Philippines was on track to meeting its tourism target of 10 million visitors by 2016, rice self-sufficiency by next year and infrastructure projects. “Manila is a very old city. Urban planning probably was not yet invented as a concept when it was started out and, unfortunately, when it started existing, too many – too few people rather paid attention to it so we are… I would not want to be the one to kick the can to the next president who will try and solve issues like flooding; how to move 14 million residents in the national capital region more efficiently and more productively,” he said. Aquino said he also got to meet investors like Austal, which had been building boats in Cebu. “Telstra employs about, I was told, 10,000 employees already in the Philippines and there is talk of further expansion and directly hiring their employees. Telstra is a very large telecommunications company here,” Aquino said. He said he discussed with AG & P its third natural gas project in the world while Macquarie partnered with the Government Service Insurance System to set up a more than $600-million infrastructure fund. Aquino said in the media briefing that the government would continue to invest in the people and make the growth inclusive. Aside from CCT, he said his administration allotted more funds for education, health insurance and trainings. Aquino said the people should be the “be-all and end-all” of all his efforts because they were the ones who installed him in power. “ ‘Yung galing ng mga kababayan natin basta nabigyan ng tamang environment anywhere in the world, gusto nating i-replicate sa Pilipinas. So hindi na ‘yung may pagkakataon ka dito, gusto pa rin nating alalayan na talagang masamantala nila ‘yung pagkakataon,” Aquino said. - By Aurea Calica