Rizal Ballroom, Makati Shangri-La
16 November 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III underscored the importance of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 CEO Summit in addressing poverty, when he attended its opening ceremony on the week of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in Manila.

“We will have important conversations about how we can free our people from the oppression of poverty, and how to empower them to take part in sustainable economic growth,” said the President in his keynote address.

He cited a few of government’s strategies that could systematically respond to poverty, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which benefited 4.4 million households or roughly 22 million Filipinos.

The Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) was also mentioned. It is an initiative of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) designed to implement courses that will help Filipinos attain a sustainable livelihood, most especially in the skilled labor sector.

“Inclusive growth became the north star of national policy – growth that truly helps each and every Filipino lift themselves up from poverty,” he said.

Meanwhile in a conversation with CNN International Asia Pacific Editor Andrew Stevens, President Aquino shared that among the goals the country would like to achieve in its APEC 2015 Summit hosting was to focus on areas which would spark cooperation rather than concentrate on issues that would ‘separate’ nations.

“There is a tendency to think of all problems as parochial, a lot of times this has to be the priority, but if we lack the cooperation, then we will always have the situation of a very shaky economic outlook,” he said.

A premier business forum in the Asia-Pacific, the APEC CEO Summit was initiated back in 1996 when the Philippines last held host of the AELM. Bearing the theme “Creating the Future: Better, Stronger, Together”, the summit serves as a platform where the global business community can conduct dialogues with APEC Economic Leaders on matters that are being prioritized in the region.

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