Press Release
January 21, 2010

Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III: "We need a government
committed to transformation'

Liberal Party standard bearer Senator Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III presented his vision for the Philippine economy at the Makati Business Club's (MBC) general membership meeting today at the Peninsula Manila Hotel, Makati City.

Speaking before 800 senior executives representing nearly 450 of the country's largest corporations. Aquino said that he decided to seek the presidency "to repair the damage that has been wrought on our democratic institutions by those who have sought to manipulate them for their own selfish ends" and "to improve the situation of our people, who have suffered years of neglect because of a self-absorbed leadership obsessed with political survival."

The current leader in all the major national presidential surveys urged business leaders to join him in bringing about "a government committed to a transformation: from a society overwhelmingly poor to one overwhelmingly middle class." The senator noted that the world's most progressive democracies have substantial populations of middle-class citizens.

To lead the transformation, you cannot be part of the problem

Aquino criticized "the lack of political will to faithfully implement the many world-class laws," and called it the country's main problem. He said his budget team estimated that around P280 billion was lost from the national budget due to corruption, and that he has been working to correct this in the senate by focusing on oversight and investigations.

The senator has called for an audit of the government's P1.4-billion confidential and intelligence funds. He has also investigated anomalies and delays in government projects such as the Fertilizer Fund Scam, the NBN ZTE deal, and the Subic Clark-Tarlac-Expressway, which took 8 years to finish.

He then issued a challenge to other presidential candidates: "To lead transformation, you cannot be part of the problem. As I said when I accepted the people's draft, the job of chief executive is about the efficient allocation of resources. If you have hogged these resources for yourself, if you have lied, cheated, and stolen to gain power, how can you be trusted to lead the transformation our country needs?"

Economic plans

Aquino outlined his concrete plans for the economy, saying that "good governance and the drive against corruption are critical components to the strategy."

He said that his administration will "encourage free and fair competition in a level playing field. One not need be a crony in order to succeed in the field of business."

He will also streamline the approval process for setting up businesses as well as for regular transactions such as the payment of taxes. Others goals of his administration are curbing smuggling and reforming the process of tax administration.

"My vision is to transform our country into one where we have lower tax rates enjoyed by all, rather than have some enjoy absolute tax exemptions while we burden the rest of the economy with very high taxes," he said.

He will order local government units and the government's infrastructure agencies to cooperate with the private sector to bring about "a public infrastructure program" that would transform "infrastructure projects from sources of waste and scandal into examples of cooperation and efficiency."

His administration will also work on a complete review of all the Department of Agriculture's programs to eliminate "leaks" so the department can support efforts such as supply chain management that "minimizes losses, creates jobs, consults with stakeholders, and capitalizes in our competitive advantage."

Aquino ended his speech with this quote from the Clint Eastwood-directed film "Invictus," which depicts the struggle of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president: "In order to rebuild our nation, we must exceed our own expectations."

He then called on the MBC to "insist, always, that we are not a nation of crooks, of thieves, of murderers who get off scot-free and where justice is won by the highest bidder," and asked the business leaders to join him in the "journey towards transformation."


The MBC is a private non-stock, non-profit business association formed in 1981 to be a forum for ideas to address economic and social policy issues and to foster and promote the role of the business sector in national development.

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