Aquino promises growth for all
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, July 22 vowed his government would continue focusing on improving the lives of the poor as it works toward achieving inclusive growth.
"Our strategy is to maximize opportunities for all, especially for those most in need. We are not content to wait for the trickle-down effect; we cannot leave their fate to chance. What we call inclusive growth is the principle that drives every initiative, every action and every decision of your government," he said in his 4th State of the Nation Address at the opening of the 16th Congress.
He said the government has begun laying down initiatives to raise the incomes of farmers and fishermen.
He said farmers are being taught intercropping, while new piers are being constructed in strategic areas across the country to raise the productivity of fishermen.
The poor would also continue to get cash and health subsidies, he added.
He said the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program would cover families with children up to 18 years old by next year.
He said more Filipinos are targeted to be enrolled in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. "When we began, 62% of Filipinos were enrolled; now, the number stands at 81%. The remaining number still not in our lists are those we are seeking to identify, including those in the informal and indigenous people's sectors."
Aquino reiterated his inclusive growth agenda as he cited the economic gains that the Philippines has enjoyed during his administration.
He said the Philippines has transformed from being the "sick man of Asia" to an "A"-rated country following its upgrade to investment grade status.
"In tandem with the increased confidence in our good governance is the continued resurgence of our economy… For the first time in history, we attained investment grade status from two of 3 most respected credit ratings agencies in the world, and it is quite possible that the third will soon follow suit."
The Philippine economy expanded by a surprising 7.8% in the first quarter of 2013, the fastest in the region, beating even China, which grew 7.7%. – Rappler.com