Madrid, Spain
14 September 2014

President Benigno S. Aquino III took the opportunity to meet and thank the Filipino community on his first day in Spain.

The President mentioned various achievements of the government which includes the country’s economic gains during his administration and the success of the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) which resulted to an increased number of tourists visiting the country. President Aquino said, “Mula nga po Enero hanggang Hunyo ng taong ito, 2.43 million na ang pumupunta. Umaasa tayong aabot tayo sa 5 million ngayong taon. At sa pinapakita nga pong sigasig ni Secretary Mon Jimenez at ng kanyang mga kasamahan sa DOT, hindi rin malayong maabot natin ang target nating magkaroon ng 10 million annual tourist arrivals sa 2016.”

President Aquino stated that more flights bound for Europe and the United States of America (USA) are expected due to the upgrade status given by the US Federation Aviation Authority to the Philippines. This will further increase the number of tourists in the country and is likewise very timely for the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit which will be hosted by the Philippines in 2015 and for the first ever Madrid Fusion festival in Southeast Asia also to be held in the country next year.

President also gave updates on various infrastructure and transportation projects in the country as well as the programs for the poor, on education, and peace and national security.

Moreover, the President expressed his gratefulness that many Filipinos went to Spain to support the Philippine team Gilas Pilipinas in the just concluded Fédération Internationale de Basketball, more commonly known by the French acronym FIBA, World Cup 2014. Despite the loss of the Philippine squad, President Aquino said that the team gave pride to the Filipino people. The Gilas players, he added, gave their best shot and fought with heart despite the height advantage of their competetors.

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