Shangri-La Hotel Makati
22 May 2014

The 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia formally opened with President Benigno S. Aquino III and visiting leaders President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Republic of Indonesia and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam attending at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.

Speaking before the international participants of this year’s forum, President Aquino said that behind all the government’s efforts to fight corruption and poverty is the Filipino people’s participation and involvement in the implementation of various reforms, and their trust and confidence in the administration. He likewise emphasized the importance of good governance in achieving development.

He proudly declared that despite the Zamboanga siege and natural disasters like the Bohol earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines late last year, the country’s economy grew by 7.2% thus making it as one of the fastest growing countries in Asia. Moreover, the country’s credit rating was unanimously upgraded to investment grade status by major credit rating agencies and its competitiveness ranking has been moved from 85th to 59th place by the World Economic Forum itself. He said these are some proofs of the Philippines’ economic progress.

“We recognize that the power behind all our efforts – whether in pursuing inclusive economic growth, improving competitiveness, food security or disaster risk management – comes not from any individual but from our people. This is why inclusive growth is not just a mantra for us; it is the yardstick by which we measure any government undertaking,” President Aquino said.

Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun also gave an address at the opening plenary session that was moderated by WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab.

Twenty of WEF’s East Asia Global Growth Companies Honorees for 2014 were also given recognition during the program.

Over 600 businessmen, government and society leaders from 30 countries are participating in the forum being hosted by the Philippines for the first time with the theme “Leveraging Growth for Equitable Progress.” The conference will conclude on Friday, May 23.

*  *  *