His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
In front of the Filipino Community of the United States after Sunday Mass at the Basilica Parish Church of Mission Dolores
[September 26, 2010, San Francisco]
Father Albano and Your reverend Fathers, Senator Leland Yee; Government Officials of Filipino-American decent; Officials, members of the various Filipino, Organizations, Associations; and representative groups from The Bay area and other communities in California, our distinguished Veterans; distinguished guests, Mga minamahal kong kababayan, Magandang hapon pos a inyong lahat.
There is no better way of capping a busy, yet productive week than to meet my countrymen. On behalf of our delegation, thank you for your hospitality. In six days we have had not less than 45 meetings all for the betterment of our people and our country.
We are here today because of our shared love and faith: love of country and faith in God. These attributes unite Filipinos regardless of geographical boundaries. The church has always been a home of faith for everyone. But for Filipinos, especially those abroad, it has been the sanctuary from which all of us draw strength. Going to church not only brings us closer to God, but it also brings us closer to home. As we sing, pray and talk to God, we are reminded of the things we miss back home in the Philippines, and we are reminded of the reasons why we are indeed proud to be Filipinos.
Honestly, I was quite reluctant to visit the US because foreign travels are expensive and we need to focus on reforms at home. My economic managers assured me that a trip to the US will be extremely beneficial to our economy. We came here to generate support from foreign leaders and entice investments, to create jobs for our people and to improve the business climate in the home country. We travelled here to carry forward every Filipino’s dream for a prosperous nation. And I am happy to share with you the news that we are returning home with very substantial commitments.
In church where we are taught to be humble. I’m sorry if I lack of a little humility, but we will be bringing home not less than 2.7 billion US Dollars in new investments. We have had meetings covering the sectors of power generation, consumer products, business and knowledge processing, process outsourcing, healthcare, garments and leather goods—and that we feel is just the start. In a meeting sponsored by the Citi group in New York, we were expecting a crowd of potential investors numbering 60, we got over a hundred and undoubtedly most of them will indeed see the Philippines as a good place to do business.
We have made the most out of this visit—and without a big and bloated delegation spending lavishly along the way. We are optimistic about the business proposals from our meetings with different companies, which will boost trade and economic relations between the US and the Philippines. The employment they will generate and the additional tax that they will contribute to the public purse will redound to improving living standards for our fellow citizens.
All the proposals we came up with before visiting, and all the support we received during our trip are geared towards one solitary goal: a Philippines free of hunger, ignorance and poverty.
We are now in the stage of revitalizing our nation. Time and again, we have proven to the world that if united, nothing is impossible for us Filipinos. Our burning sense of communal responsibility has instilled hope where there was once despair, and together, we are fostering trust in our public institutions once more.
Let us be steadfast in our commitment to being loyal servants of God’s will so that our desire to have a better home will be built on the foundation that endures: a sense of service to our people.
May I ask further—at dito magpapa-kapal na ako ng konti—please pray for me and for the entire nation as we move forward to forge a future worthy of our children. Let us keep working to stay on the straight path, where peace, progress and prosperity await us all.
And in closing, I was really heartfelt to see so many signs of our direction. We were in the Seasons Market Place, I think that was in San Jose. Filipinos waited for us for about an hour or two, they came from the width and breadth of our country, and all of them just wanted to commune with us. After that there was a group of young people—I say young because they really look half my age—and they had just one chant. They kept on saying: “we are one and one we are.” And if I may end, if we continue at that path, where we are responsible for our countrymen, and for our brothers and sisters, there is no way to go but up then towards a very bright, and no-longer a promising, but a realized good future for us.
Good afternoon, thank you.