SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang, Davao City
9 September 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III was warmly welcomed by the different local government officials, his Cabinet secretaries, and other sectors of the community within Mindanao in “A Gathering of Friends” held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao.

In his statement, President Aquino said that the country’s continuing progress can be attributed to the trust, support and confidence of the Filipino people in him and the government. He cited some of his administration’s achievements like the high success rate of the cash assistance program that led to its expansion. This resulted to 300,000 high school graduates of which 13,000 are valedictorians and honor students. The President even met two beneficiaries among the graduates who will be entering the tertiary level at the University of the Philippines.

Likewise, he mentioned a mechanical engineering graduate from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) who is receiving a salary two times more than what the President is getting, and another TESDA graduate who is now a small retailer of a sari-sari store and earning around P800.00 daily. According to the President, other retail owners are receiving twice, or even five to ten times more than what they expect to earn.

He stressed that the government gives everyone an opportunity to be successful in their chosen endeavors, and that it is willing to support them, but their success would depend on how they would treat the opportunity laid before them.

President Aquino also said that he is pushing for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) because peace is important in the Mindanao region. He emphasized that when there is peace in Mindanao, there will be peace in the whole country as this will further enhance trading with neighboring countries especially those in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

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