Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, Brussels
15 September 2014
Almost 800 Filipinos in Belgium and Luxembourg gathered at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels and warmly welcomed President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Filipino community meeting as day one of his Working Visit to the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium officially ended.
In his message, President Aquino asked this question – “Bakit ang Pilipino, kapag inilabas mo sa Pilipinas, nagpapakitang gilas? Dumating nga po tayo sa kaisipan: Ang Pilipino, bigyan mo ng tamang kondisyon, ilagay mo sa tamang sitwasyon, tiyak, talagang ipapakita ang kanyang husay at kakayahan.”
Recognizing the sacrifices that overseas Filipinos endure for their families back home, as well as the pride and honor that they give to the country thru their hard work, the President cited several government programs aimed at improving the lives of the marginalized. These include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, wider coverage health insurance, and addressing the backlog of classrooms, textbooks and chairs in public education.
He also emphasized the various reforms initiated by his administration that resulted to the following: lifting of the flight ban on the Philippines’ two biggest airline companies by the European Union, paving the way for more European tourists to visit the country; raising of the country’s competitiveness ranking to 52nd out of 144 economies by the World Economic Forum (WEF); the 20 positive credit ratings earned by the country during his four years as Chief Executive, including the investment grade status given by Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s.
“Ang hamon sa atin ngayon: pangalagaan at suportahan ang isa’t isa, saan man tayo magkita. At kapag nagpatuloy ang paghakbang natin sa tuwid na landas, darating tayo sa isang bukas kung saan ang pagkakataon, bukas sa Pilipino, sa loob ng Pilipinas; maaabot natin ang isang lipunan kung saan ang nais umuwi, ay makakauwi na talaga at masasabing, ‘Ganito, ganito ang Pilipinas na aking pinangarap,” President Aquino ended.
* * *