The Philippines has just begun harnessing its potentials, says President Aquino

MANILA, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Few months before stepping down from power, President Aquino said his administration has laid the ground work that future administrations could build on to further harness the country's potentials.

"Looking back on everything that has happened over the course of my administration, I tell you today the best news of all: we’ve only just begun," the President said in a speech during the 41st Philippine Business Conference in Marriott Hotel on Tuesday.

"While we have already achieved so much, I submit that we have not even scratched the surface of what the Philippines has to offer, which is why we have to nurture these beginnings."

The President said there's a need to protect the successes that the Filipino people have made and the country must continue to build on them.

Sustained good governance likewise means sustained good economics, he told businessmen. And if it's when bolstered by a depth of experience and ironclad integrity, it accelerates inclusive growth, he added.

At the same time, he said he is confident that like the rest of his countrymen all over the world, local businesses will do their part to ensure that the Philippines rises to greater heights.

"The world has already begun witnessing what the Filipino is capable of, and I am convinced that, if we continue working together, we can show them even more of our boundless potential, and ultimately prove that nothing is impossible to a united Philippine nation," the President noted.

He said he already directed his Cabinet Secretary to prepare the appropriate response to some of the issues raised by the business sector although many of those concerns are now being addressed by the government.

"We’d like to tell you that a lot of it is already being addressed, and we’d like to tell you what to expect in the last eight months of our administration," he told the businessmen.

Among the successes mentioned by the President include the rapid growth of the country's gross domestic product, with an average rate of 6.2 percent in the last five years of the administration. This is the the fastest five-year average growth in nearly four decades.

From 2010 to 2014, he said the country increased net foreign direct investments by almost six-fold. The Philippines also recorded the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.

Also, the Philippines received 22 positive credit rating actions, with the most momentous ones coming in 2013, when Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s all declared the Philippines investment grade, according to the President.

The government has also vastly expanded the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, with around 4.4 million household beneficiaries receiving cash stipends.

It has also implemented the K to 12 reform to ensure that Filipino youth have a strong foundation for further learning, or employment, he said.

"Technical and vocational education has perhaps never been stronger, especially now that our Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is working more closely with the private sector to implement training programs," he said.

State universities and colleges are also implementing reforms to become truly relevant to the needs of communities they serve and the demands of the job market, he noted. (PNA)

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