Castle of Val Duchesse, Brussels, Belgium
16 September 2014

President Benigno S. Aquino III concluded the second day of his Working Visit to the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Belgium by delivering a policy speech in an event organized by the Egmont Institute.

The President took the opportunity to enumerate his administration’s anti-corruption initiatives and good governance programs that expanded the Philippines’ coffers and allowed the government to double down its investments on the country’s greatest resource, the Filipino people.

“We have likewise steadily climbed several global measures of competitiveness.  For instance, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, we have gone from 85th in 2010 to 52nd in 2014 – making us the most improved country since 2010.  In the same period, we improved our ranking in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s Ease of Doing Business Report by 36 spots.  On top of all this, in 2013, all of the world’s most renowned credit ratings agencies were unanimous in declaring the Philippines investment grade.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say to all of you: the Philippines is well and truly back in business,” President Aquino said.

The Chief Executive tackled the dispute in the West Philippine Sea and emphasized that a solution must be pursued that adheres to the rule of law.  He noted the importance of fully implementing the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, as well as the need to expeditiously conclude the binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

He also expressed his gratitude to the Kingdom of Belgium and to the members of the EU for their assistance to the Philippines after several provinces were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), saying that Filipinos never forget moments of kindness.

“This year is the 50th anniversary of Philippine-EU relations, and it brings me great pleasure to see so much evidence that these bonds we have fostered run deeper than diplomacy.  What we enjoy is a bond of humanity between our peoples, and I cannot help but see this as an opportunity for us to gather our strengths, compensate for each other’s weaknesses, and take greater steps forward in addressing the new normal of climate change together,” President Aquino stated.

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