Speech of President Aquino at the 14th Outstanding Filipino Retailers And Shopping Centers Of The Year Awards Night

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President Of The Philippines
At the 14th Outstanding Filipino Retailers And Shopping Centers Of The Year Awards Night
[December 08, 2010, Grand Ballroom, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ortigas Center, Pasig City]
Thank you for inviting me here as you hold the awarding ceremony of the 14th Outstanding Filipino Retailers and Shopping Centers of the Year.
First of all, I would like to congratulate of course Ambassador Bienvenido R. Tantoco Sr. for winning the 2010 Philippine Retailing Association President’s Award. The influence he has had on the industry has been widespread and profound. His Rustan’s has transformed the luxury retail trade. Over the years, the upscale department store has evolved from the Aguinaldo’s La Estrella del Norte and Oceanic days of our Escolta-centered youth, to the store specialist, brand-oriented emporiums of today. With this recognition tonight, I do look forward to a celebration sale, Mr. Ambassador.

All of you present here tonight deserve congratulations as well. I commend the retailers and shopping center owners who, over the years, have garnered distinctions in past ceremonies. This includes the prestigious members of your organization, such as Mr. Henry Sy, Sr., Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Mr. Jorge Araneta, Mrs. Socorro Ramos, and Mr. John Gokongwei Jr., all of whom have not allowed success to eclipse the virtues of acting with honesty, dignity, and humility.
All of you deserve praise for your willingness to share your wealth, knowledge, and experience with millions of Filipinos aspiring to enter the retail trade, and for your firm commitment to providing a pleasant shopping experience. Shopping—as my sister is always one to speak of—is important to all of us; some people call it our national pastime, and it encourages me to see your dedication to keeping our people happy.
But your contributions do not end there. You seem to be making our economists very happy as well. Recent data has shown that Philippine retailing has been a major contributor to the growth of our national economy. In the third quarter of this year, the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the Retail Subsector posted a 14.1 percent growth. As a result, the Trade Industry, which is made up of the Retail and Wholesale Subsectors, posted a double digit growth of almost 12 percent. In short, your entrepreneurship is working wonders for us. We hope to see more of this in the future.
Your recent successes should even compel you to work—if it’s possible—even harder. It is not about maintaining what is successful. It is about compounding success with more success, and relentlessly improving efficiencies.
This is what the Outstanding Filipino Retailers and Shopping Centers of the Year Awards truly celebrates. Tonight’s awarding ceremony began as far back as 1996. On March 26th of that year, you signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry to join and participate in the “Search for World Class Retailers” program, and 14 years down the line, we find ourselves here, able to look back at its success. The examples set by the awardees of this event have stood firm in the minds of aspiring entrepreneurs over the years, and have inspired them to continue to excel and innovate.
More recently, the DTI and the PRA have engaged in additional noteworthy collaborations such as the “DTI Bagwis Award” program, which was established to implement a self-regulation mechanism to promote honest and fair dealings, maintain high ethical standards, and to build and preserve consumer trust and confidence. There are also the “Diskwento” projects, which sell commodities at reduced prices to help ease the burden of rising prices on the average Filipino consumer. Moreover, the PRA has been an ally of the government in implementing the provisions of the Consumer Welfare Act—including the Price Tag Law and the prohibition of the No Return, No Exchange Policy.
Rest assured, we will continue to work overtime to foster a market environment that is ethical, efficient, and free. What the retail sector has accomplished to date is an example of what can be done when the Filipino entrepreneur is left to work in a free market. You have our trust. We believe that you will continue to excel in your field. On our part, we will make certain that we remain worthy of your trust as well.
We have just recently risen from a dark era in our history, and the successes we have already achieved are like daylight, shining on the newfound, transparent relationship between government and the people. This bodes well for all of us. As the Christmas season goes into full gear and the streets of our cities are all lit up with lights and especially the smiles of our countrymen, let us do our best to make sure that the brightness remains even after the season ends. We have that capacity: it requires of us only optimism, hard work, and cooperation. It requires of all of us a winner’s attitude. To be in this circle of proven winners is to see a future of even greater achievements ahead.
Thank you and good evening. And an advance Merry Christmas to all.