Speech of President Aquino, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.

Mr. Noynoy AquinoImage via Wikipedia
Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the 28th Biennial Convention of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
[Delivered at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City on March 25, 2011]
One thing I noticed upon standing upon this stage was I really was taken by your symbol at the back, here in the corner. It seems there is a carabao with his horns encircling your seal, and I realized that the officers who head this chamber really worked very, very hard. It reminded me of my own campaign last year, wherein I complained to my ground campaign manager: I reminded him—and in Tagalog I think it sounds better—“Pati kalabaw marunong rin pong umiyak.” [Laughter]
And I guess it’s fortunate … Last night I was being advised by a friend, a Filipino-Chinese friend, a woman at that, who said she noticed me coughing in one particular speech. She wanted me to rest, and I said “there is no rest for the weary.” So she reminded me that if I get sick then I will accomplish nothing else, so I’d better take care of my health. And to think that she was a lot younger than me, and she was “making me sermon.” Sabi ko: Yes you really are dynamic.
For years now, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has been helping the government through meaningful projects that have improved the lot of our people. It is worth mentioning that for years, quietly and normally without much fanfare, the Federation has been helping well-intentioned public officials, like Senator Frank Drilon, build schools at almost half the amount that the government normally spends to build these school buildings. I point out this project in particular because it is very consistent with our thrust of alleviating poverty by spending public funds wisely.
We believe that the private sector must be allowed, within certain parameters and regulations, to thrive and grow. As it grows, it will employ more people, empower more consumers, and contribute further to our country’s progress.
The government, in the meantime, will do everything it can to make more resources available to poverty-alleviation projects and other related endeavors. This is why we have intensified spending and have increased budget allocations for education, an advocacy that you clearly share with us. Your effort to build schools and hopefully in time housing units is very much aligned to what we are doing, making our goals of improving our education system more achievable, sooner rather than later.
I am hoping that under the new leadership of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (which I understand will be holding elections by the weekend), worthwhile endeavors such as building schools will continue and even expand. Now that we have a government that is likewise committed to improving our social services, it is not just Senator Drilon that you can partner with. You now have an entire national government that you can count on for support. I hope that this partnership you have had with Senator Drilon and other well-meaning lawmakers can also be forged with national agencies of the government. This I will surely look forward to as we work with you on fulfilling the needs of our people.
I come to you at a time when you are about to elect new leaders, who will play an important role in the next steps the Federation will take. I hope you will choose leaders who are willing to work with us and are able to strengthen the Federation’s partnership with government—like what doctor [Alfonso] Uy has done for the past two years. You are all pillars in your industries, and I hope that the Federation will also be a pillar in building a better nation.
Already the signs are there. Because of this renewed confidence, many businessmen such as yourselves are making significant investments in our economy. I recently went to the groundbreaking of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Fort Bonifacio, which is a project of Federal Land, owned by Chinese-Filipino Dr. George S.K. Ty. When completed, this 66-storey structure will provide even more jobs, house tourists and business travelers and contribute to the overall growth of our economy.
In a few days, I will visit a construction yard in Batangas owned by AG & P, a subsidiary of DMCI, another Filipino company with Chinese roots. This construction yard will build refinery components for US heavy petrochemical industries. It will employ over a thousand Filipinos, many of them engineers, and will eventually contribute millions in tax revenues for the government.
These people have the confidence in our future and it is a confidence that I know you all share.
Now, we are experiencing daylight, where businesses can thrive with the help of a government they can trust. It is an environment where the private sector can do more for our people, either through jobs or the many worthwhile causes you actually now support. Now is the time for us to work, to create new solutions for old problems and to finally realize the dreams we share for our people.
And before I end, I really have to make an appeal. We are not members of your chamber, although sometimes we would have wished we could have been members. But, having said that, we really implore you to choose wisely in the coming elections. We really need to have somebody, personified by the likes of Dr. Uy, who we can work with, because we know that you will help us alleviate the plight of our people much sooner rather than later. So, please choose wisely and let us strengthen the relationship that now exists.
Thank you and good day.
Listen to PNoy Speech on Biennial Convention of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.