Highlights of President Aquino’s keynote address

by Felipe F. Salvosa II, Publications Division Chief, Philippines Institute for Development studies

HE. Benigno S. Aquino III, President and Sir L.Alan Winters

Conversation between HE. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of Philippines and Sir L.Alan Winters

HE. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, graced the formal opening ceremonies of the GDN 14th Annual Global Development Conference at the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila at 10 AM on June 19 2013. Here are some key highlights of his keynote address, which was well-covered by the local and international press. Press Release by Presidential Office

Link to Benigno S. Aquino III full speech

How can policymakers effectively solve problems in pursuit of inclusive growth? For Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, the experience of his Southeast Asian nation is that keeping one’s ears to the ground helps in finding solutions.

“The difficulty is that while the problems may be universal, the solutions are not. Each region, each country, each city and town has its own reality, and the solutions they come up with must be tailored-fit to local conditions,” President Aquino said in his keynote address at the opening of the 14th Global Development Conference.

For instance, the Philippines has turned two erstwhile waste products into “vibrant” industries. Coconut farmers have found markets abroad for coco water as well as coconut coir – a material that can help strengthen roads and prevent soil erosion. “The result: from 2009 to 2010, the value of our coco water exports increased from to 15.1 million dollars, an increase of almost 4,000 percent,” President Aquino said. [See speech text.]

The Philippine president noted that the GDN conference opened on the 152nd birth anniversary of the country’s national hero, who was a community builder in his own time, when he put up a school and a medical practice in southern Philippines.

“The problems that confront us have changed since Rizal’s era. Countries the world over have found themselves beset by social unrest, unrest that roots from a prevalent public perception that the people’s voice is not being heard,” President Aquino said.

“For most of the developing world, overarching problems can be summed up in a few words: poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of education, corruption. These are not unique to any one country or people. Each of us has seen or experienced them,” Aquino pointed out.

Aquino said his government had investment significant resources on conditional cash transfers, known locally as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, in the first three years of his term as part of its commitment to achieving inclusive growth.

“Stay in school, see the doctor, be our partners in health and learning, and we will lend you a helping hand. We closed the gap in classrooms and raised the budget for education, from the primary all the way to the tertiary level,” President Aquino said.

“The next three years will see continued interventions in the poorest of the poor, but also, a focus on the vulnerable … sectors of society.”

President Aquino stressed the need to achieve inclusive growth. “We cannot have a society where a few flourish and the rest must make do with crumbs. We must have inclusive growth. This is nothing less than a fair deal, a running start for all, with interventions by the government where it matters and will do the most good,” President Aquino said.

His Excellency said the process starts with “identifying the correct problem, otherwise any solution would be directionless and therefore ineffective.”

The Philippine President shared with 400 some researchers in attendance that the GDN conference’s resounding message was one of continued pursuit of more knowledge, and the natural human desire to get better. The GDN conference should hopefully be a venue for the free exchange of ideas that will advance the way people approach the world’s pressing problems.

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3 Responses to Highlights of President Aquino’s keynote address

  1. Pingback: UST Professors recognized by PNoy at GDN Conference | The Journalism Post

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