Press Release
February 16, 2010

Aquino vows to eliminate corruption to improve investment climate

Leading presidential candidate, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino, presented his platform to improve the Philippine investment and economic climate today at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Presidential Forum at the Manila Marriot Hotel, New Port Boulevard, New Port City Complex, Pasay City.

Speaking before business leaders from various organizations representing small, medium, and large enterprises and other business sectors, the Aquino vowed to focus on eliminating graft and corruption to improve the investment and economic climate of the Philippines.

"Corruption is a theft and a form of murder by a thousand cuts. It robs our people of opportunities, and condemns them to never having a fair chance to realize their potential," said Aquino.

"Around P280 billion has been lost to corruption in 2009 alone. This can build 280,000 schools or 560,000 classrooms or purchase 280 million sets of textbooks or train thousands of teachers. Our students should no longer be deprived of these services, so we will fight graft and corruption on four fronts," he added.

He presented to the business leaders steps that his administration would take to eliminate corruption, which includes the fair and expeditious prosecution of smugglers and tax evaders, oversight on the government procurement process, streamlining rules and regulations.

"We know who use and abuse the law either to coddle favorites or extort from the vulnerable. We know who the smugglers and the tax evaders are. We know who the kidnapping and bank robbery syndicates are, too. With your help, we will take them down," said Aquino, who earlier said that his administration will refrain from adding taxes.

He also said his administration will conduct a review of the national budget to "eliminate wasteful, redundant, and corrupt programs."

Aquino ended his speech with a call to business leaders to reject the "false dichotomy" that "people must choose between a risky, naïve idealism or healthy pragmatism."

"There is no conflict between practicality and lofty ideals," Aquino added. "Government must serve you. When leaders put their interest ahead of the people they serve, they betray their people and set themselves up as the people's master. This leads to squandered opportunities."

"When leaders uphold the sovereignty of the people, government becomes a partner in empowerment. This is the essence of genuine people power," Aquino said.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is a non-stock, non-profit, non-government organization comprised of small, medium, and large enterprise, local chambers and industry associations representing various sectors of business.

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