Speech of President Aquino during the launch of the first batch of PPP projects for bidding

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of The Philippines
During the launch of the first batch of Public-Private Partnerships projects lined up for bidding in 2011, and the inauguration of the PPP Center Satellite Office at the Development Bank of the Philippines

[Delivered at the Development Bank of the Philippines, Makati, on March 7, 2011]

My administration came into office with one of the largest mandates in the history of this country. The people clamored for good governance and reform. And in eight months in office, we have heeded their call. By means of weeding out corrupt officials and ending corrupt practices, we have instilled the values of honesty, integrity, and accountability into government institutions.

But of course this is not enough. We realize that the end goal of running a transparent government is the delivery of services to the people—that our citizens are able to work in an economy that will afford them food, shelter, education, and employment.

This is what these Public-Private Partnership projects are all about. This is one way we can provide to the Filipinos what is rightfully theirs. And today, it brings me great pleasure that we are launching the first batch of PPP Projects lined up for bidding in 2011. These projects will undoubtedly further stimulate our economy, which has already experienced unprecedented success in recent months. And with an estimated investment of more than a billion dollars lined up for bidding, these projects give us more reason to be optimistic: we can expect thousands of jobs for our people, growth in our economy, and long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with large corporations.

But these investments help our economy in other ways too. When these projects are finally completed, many of our citizens will benefit from these projects directly. Businesses based in the Philippines will find faster ways to transport goods, by virtue of the NAIA Expressway Phase Two, the NLEX-SLEX Link Expressway, and the Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road Project. Our people will also have the benefit of riding the privatized MRT3 and LRT1 lines, which promises upgrades in services while creating a more sustainable business model for our Metro Manila rail system.

In short, this city will be easier to travel in, and this bodes well for our economy, for our businesses, and for our people. For this, I would like to thank the PPP Center, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Finance, and all those who actively participated in preparing these projects for bidding. Make no mistake about it: these projects promise so much for our economy and for our people, and they will play a vital role in our administration’s fulfillment of our Social Contract with our people.

I know that there are those who make a living out of being critical of our administration. And perhaps that is to be expected in any country where free speech is a right granted to each and every person. But they cannot argue with results. They cannot argue with children who have finally found classrooms to study in, food to eat, and homes to live in. They cannot argue with roads that have been paved with not one corrupt official receiving tribute. They cannot argue with facts—that from our reform, and from our honest-to-goodness hard work, come developments that concretely change the way our people live for the better.

Our administration believes that change is not a mere idea. It is something that must become palpable in our economy, in our roads, and, ultimately and most importantly, in the lives of our people. Through projects such as the ones we are inaugurating today, we are beginning to show the world that change is not just a word that politicians throw around. We are beginning to show them how change can and should reach ordinary citizens.

What we have achieved today is a step toward the progress of our country, and it should be expected that we would be in a celebratory mood, but in fact, the best way to respond to this success is to work even more and harder. In a few hours, I will be leaving for state visits to Indonesia and Singapore so that I may enjoy the company of their leaders and deepen our ties with them. At the same time, I will be on the look-out for more potential partners in our PPP projects, and for agreements that will prove to be beneficial for our countrymen. And when I get home, I will go straight to the office to continue to fix what needs to be fixed in this country.

If we are to catch up with the rest of the world, it is imperative that we outthink and outwork our competitors. Thus, I invite all of you to continue working with us. We are in a good position now. We have finally driven away the darkness of corruption and deceit, and we have won back the daylight that promises prosperity for this country. And so long as we continue to fulfill our roles in our collective responsibilities, I am confident that the Philippines can be even more successful. I know that not all of us can participate perhaps in paving new roads and new highways in and around, for instance, the capital city; but all of us play a significant role in rebuilding this country. Let us not forget that. Let us build, build, and build.

Thank you.