CNCC, Beijing, China
9 November 2014

President Benigno S. Aquino III conveyed the Philippine government’s project and programs that fosters economic reform in a summit dialogue during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, PRC.

With the theme: “Economic Reforms for Sustaining Competitiveness: What should the Agenda be?” President Aquino cited several government programs and initiatives that promote economic competitiveness through government reforms. He mentioned overhauling the budget process that maximizes the benefit to the people, chasing corrupt officials and making them accountable for their crimes, and fostering a business environment that awarded hard work and innovation. All these, he said, has resulted for the country to be recognized as the “Next Rising Tiger” in Asia.

During the Q&A portion, the President has been the favorite panelist with various questions thrown at him by the different business leaders and stakeholders present in the dialogue. One of the questions asked concerns job mismatch on how the government, in partnership with private sector, address these concerns. President Aquino said that by tailor-fitting the industry’s needs to what is being produced in schools and institutions, it addresses the country’s problem in job mismatch. He also noted the crucial role of Technical Education Skills Development Agency (TESDA) to identify which industry has high market demand and to supply it with necessary skills and training that the market needs.

The President was also asked on what role the Philippines will take part in as China gears up to become the next economic superpower. The President answered that despite the pressing issues (referring to the territorial dispute), the Philippines and China has maintained close ties with each other especially in the areas of people-to-people exchanges, and in other aspects that involve trade and tourism—citing Philippines total investment in China back in 2011 amounting to US$2.5 billion, while China has only recorded US $600 million investment in the Philippines.

“The key to our remaining competitive is the direction we have been taking which is to invest in our greatest resource which is our people, therefore investment in our people redounds to continued competitiveness, and redounds to continuous economic growth,” he said in closing.

Angel Gurria, Secretary General of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), also a panelist in the dialogue, lauded President Aquino for his government reform and the economic resurgence the country enjoys.

Joining the President on stage as panelist were Dr. Belen Garijo, President & CEO of Merck Serono; Mr. Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto; and Mr. David Abney, CEO of UPS

*  *  *