Aquino: Davos shows PH's new image
MANILA, Philippines - Speaking before the world's business and political elite in Davos, Switzerland, President Benigno Aquino III spoke about the gains made by the Philippines in its fight against corruption. But he acknowledged these reforms have to be institutionalized.
“I think the fact that you invited the Filipino here to speak about an anti-corruption drive speaks of our mutual recognition of the problem and its solution,” Aquino said in a 10-minute at the World Economic Forum session on “Partnering Against Corruption Initiative” on Friday, January 25.
“As you can see, we are changing the attitude of the world towards the Philippines, because we are changing the attitude of Filipinos towards the system,” he said.
The President said he recognized concerns about the sustainability of his administration's anti-corruption programs beyond 2016, when he steps down from office.
“This is why my administration is now focusing itself on institutionalizing reforms. We want change to become an enduring mainstream of progress rather than a mere blip on the radar and a case study for failed expectations,” Aquino said.
The challenge is for Filipinos to build "real foundations to progress," he added. “And I believe the Filipino people are up to it and are in fact already showing the world. We are ready, we are dreaming again, and we are on the way to achieving those dreams."
Aquino discussed the historic impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 and how his administration spent resources prudently, allowing the Philippines to stay healthy despite the global economic slowdown.
Aquino said Corona was impeached because of failing to submit a complete sworn statement of assets, liabilities and networth. “He found it prudent to conceal from the public eye more than 98 per cent of his money. This on top of lingering doubts about his impartiality given questionable legal decisions and his deep personal ties with my predecessor (now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) who also happened to be the person who appointed him to office,” he said.
“The chief justice is said of a co-equal branch of government, and few would have taken him on in a political battle. Not on my watch. I made it clear that judicial reform was a pillar of our anti-corruption agenda. And our Supreme Court justices being vanguard of what is fair and right must be beyond reproach. After an impeachment trial that was followed closely by the entire country, our chief justice was impeached and removed from office, and is currently facing charges. This whole exercise has proven true justice in our country is possible,” Aquino said.
The President said that when he won in 2012, corruption was rampant in the Philipppines.
“The system was characterized by transactionalism and an everyman for himself attitude fueled by a drive to remain in power rather than to render true public service. Was it any wonder that an estimated 10 million Filipinos, roughly 10% of our population, decided to vote with their feet and look for greener pastures abroad. I have to show that change in the fight against corruption yielded positive results for the economy, and that this in turn yield benefits not only to those at the top but the majority of our people,” he said.
“Allow me to end with a story. Not too long ago when I was in Congress I had an occasion to ask a group of 80 Nursing students: ‘How many of you would remain in-country after completing your studies and passing the board exams?’ Only two of the 80 raised their hands. Times have indeed changed. Now, whenever an overseas worker comes back to the homeland to visit or retrace their roots. The common question asked of them is not anymore, ‘How did you manage to get out?’ but rather ‘When are you coming home for good?’” Aquino said. - Rappler.com