Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila
21 January 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino graced The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Freedom Speech at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila.

A recipient of the FNF Freedom Medal in 2014, President Aquino discussed how government poverty alleviation programs are aimed at freeing people from hunger — the first step towards unlocking other freedoms.

Quoting what his father, the slain Senator Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., had said: “The first freedom is freedom from hunger. Without this, all other freedoms are meaningless.” The President also reiterated the need to continue programs such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“Freedom from hunger, coupled with increasing opportunities to advance in life, is the foundation upon which we are building a society that allows its citizens to enjoy all other freedoms,” President Aquino added.

Anchored on the values that formed liberalism: freedom, responsibility, tolerance, social justice and equality of opportunity — the same principles that shaped FNF, Jules Maaten, FNF Country Director, called on every Filipino to choose treading the straight path in the 2016 presidential elections.

Four Freedom Flames were also awarded to individuals for their contributions to “events that led to allowing Filipinos better experience freedom in the country,” according to a statement released by FNF.

Among the awardees were Conception “Chit” Asis, Chair of the People’s Power Volunteers for Reform, for her continuous engagement with civil society to generate support for liberal reforms; Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III, Head of the Presidential Communications Development & Strategic Planning Office, for ensuring that citizens are well informed, allowing Filipinos to make better judgment on issues; Dr. Stella Quimbo, Immediate Past President, Philippine Economic Society, for initiating open dialogues on structural reforms to advance economic freedom and ensure inclusive growth; and Paulynn Sicam, Member, Regional Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, for her dedication in the work of addressing human rights violation not only in the Philippines, but in the entire Southeast Asian region.