President Aquino Speech at the ADB’s reception in honor of the Philippines


Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III President of the Philippines
During the Asian Development Bank’s reception in honor of its host country, the Philippines
[Delivered at the ADB head quarters, Mandaluyong City on March 25, 2011]
It is indeed a pleasure to be with you tonight in recognition of the partnership between the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank. This is proof of our shared dedication to improve the quality of life, especially, of the Filipino people.
It has been four decades since you chose our country as your headquarters. Your trust is proof of the enduring faith and rising confidence placed by key institutions around the world in the strengths and capabilities of the Filipino people.
Over the last forty years, you have provided us loans amounting to over ten billion dollars, in the form of budgetary support to the national government. This financial assistance was critical to the funding of our infrastructure projects such as roads, airports, power plants, and water and sanitation facilities, helping the government lay the foundation for commerce and economic growth, and making essential services accessible to the poor. Your support ensured that the services and facilities that are now provided by the North Luzon Expressway and Maynilad Water Services are above standards. Hence, your assistance goes beyond providing loans, grants, and technical assistance; it significantly improves our peoples’ quality of life.
I have also been informed by the National Economic and Development Authority that ADB has programmed almost three billion dollars between 2010 and 2012 to support Philippine development projects. You have also financed the Philippine Energy Efficiency Project to the tune of over thirty million dollars. This project is expected to reduce the cost of power generation, by means of the efficient lighting of households and government office buildings, to the establishment of an energy service company that caters to other public utilities such as schools and, also, hospitals.
But obviously one project that I am very excited about—one that we are launched just a few moments ago—is the National Electric Vehicle Strategy. It is high time to replace our current modes of public transport with ones that are friendlier to our environment. We are currently establishing a sustainable model for e-tricycles, which will run on electricity. The first 21 e-tricycles, which were funded by ADB, will soon be demonstrated in a pilot program here in Mandaluyong. What does this mean to our people? It means that these tricycles will no longer need gasoline, and will be a greener alternative to what we currently have as they will lessen carbon dioxide emissions. It also means cheaper fares for our commuters while at the same time increasing profit margins for our tricycle drivers. In the near future, we hope to do the same with our jeepneys and buses, switching their energy sources to either hybrid or compressed natural gas. This project alone will reduce our daily imported oil requirements by about 100,000 liters, and will save us around 30 million dollars a year. The thousands of e-tricycles that the DOE [Department of Energy] will initially introduce will also, hopefully, attract more private investors for local manufacturing facilities in the country. For decades, ADB has been a valuable pillar of development in this country, not just in funding projects and the improvement of our economy, but also in ensuring that our environment, our citizens, and our future are taken care of.
You have also been a valuable partner in disaster relief. You have helped Filipino families bring their lives back to normal at the soonest possible time. You have given us grants for the rehabilitation of the devastation caused by the massive mudslide in Southern Leyte in 2006, as well as crisis recovery efforts during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.
Through our reform agenda, our nation has finally re-awakened to a new dawn. We are committed to bringing daylight into people’s lives, by serving with integrity, transparency, and optimismWe are fulfilling our mandate, and we will not fail those who count on us to stick to the straight path. The people’s confidence and trust in us, and the good news that we are delivering to them, were not drawn out of thin air. In fact, last March 22, the Philippines sold 1.5 billion dollars of new 2026 global bonds in an offering that was significantly oversubscribed. We have built up momentum in human development in terms of expanding social services in urban and rural areas.
These are the results of our hard work, and our steadfast adherence to the bedrock principle of integrity as a firm foundation for enduring reforms.
We are now proving to our people that we are living up to their mandate. Let us continue to work earnestly for their welfare. Trust that our administration will be on the frontline of every battle against forces that desire to have our country stagnate rather than progress. My only request is that we remain bound by the singular vision of this administration for our country: A vision of freedom from poverty; of equitable progress; of a democracy that leaves no one behind.
And before I end, I really would want to sincerely thank the ADB for all the past assistance. But more importantly: the good news that these e-tricycles bring to us will come to fruition basically because of our cooperation and collaboration. Again, thank you for making it possible to have a better country for all of us.
Once again, thank you. Mabuhay po tayong lahat.