Ergife Palace Hotel, Rome, Italy
3 December 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III told Filipinos in Italy that the country is now “Asia’s new darling” from being the ‘Sick of Man of Asia” in a meeting with the Filipino community in Rome on Thursday.

In his speech, the President highlighted all the administration’s achievements and hard work to bring the country in this status.

“Nakapagtala muli tayo ng 6% GDP growth para sa 3rd quarter ng taon. Sa nakaraang limang taon ng administrasyon, nasa 6.2 % po ang annual average growth ng ating GDP, pinakamablis na average growth ng bansa sa halos apat na dekada,” he said.

President Aquino also said that as the economy gets better, more opportunities open up like additional jobs. He mentioned several ongoing infrastructure projects to address the much-needed services in education and the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

The conditional cash transfer (CCT) program have reached 4.4 million households and about 180,000 classrooms will be built before he steps down from power next year, according to the President.

President Aquino also urged Filipinos to choose the next presidential candidate wisely.

“Ang tanong po sa inyo sa susunod na halalan: Tayo ba ay patuloy na tataas, o babagsak ba tayo pabalik sa ating pinanggalingan? Tayo ang gumawa ng pagbabago. Tayo ang nangahas mangarap, tayo ang tumupad sa ating mga pangarap, at tayo ngayon ang aabot ng mas matatayog pang pangarap,” he said in closing.

Members of the Cabinet and officials accompanied the President during the Filipino community meeting. They are Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, Socioeconomic Planning Manager Arsenio Balisacan, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Presidential Management Staff Sec. Julia Abad, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Linlingay Lacanlale and Undersecretary for the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Manolo Quezon.

There are about 171, 000 documented Filipinos in Italy and 85% are in the services sector (domestic worker, caregiver). Most of them live in the cities of Milan, Rome, Florence, Bologna and Turin.

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