His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of The Philippines
Before his departure for the APEC Summit in Yokohama, Japan
[November 11, 2010, Ninoy Aquino International Airport]
I leave this afternoon for Yokohama, Japan, to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. This is also an opportunity for me, as your President, to visit the Filipino community in Japan, and to hold meetings with other leaders and with investors eyeing the Philippines as a potential hub.
Most importantly—and I wish to emphasize this—our participation in APEC is an opportunity to project the Philippines to the international community. We have not had this esteem in almost a decade. But now, we are out of darkness, it is daylight again in the Philippines, and we have recovered our voice on the world stage. It is this spirit of optimism I wish to share, as your representative in APEC, in my interactions in this forum.
I will take this opportunity to reaffirm our ties with our long-established partners. I especially look forward to my meetings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, President Sebastian Piñera of Chile, Prime Minister Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea, and this year’s APEC host, Prime Minister Naoto Kan. The Philippines’ ties with Japan are something that my own family holds dearly. When my mother was president, she struck a wonderful friendship with Emperor Hirohito. She was also fortunate to have been invited to witness the ascension of the current emperor, His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor Akihito. These personal ties redounded to closer, more dynamic relations between our people.
Japan and the rest of APEC have time and again expressed confidence in our capabilities as a developing economy. We are equally confident that the Philippines can fulfill its role as a key partner to its neighbors in this region—especially now that our economy is ready to take off.
The Philippines is open for business—this is what we wish to convey to our partners in the Asia-Pacific, and to the rest of the world. Our administration has already carried out critical reforms aimed at effecting a long-term impact on our economy. To urge the participation of investors, we have streamlined business registration, improved power supply, carried out more thorough policies to fight corruption, and established closer coordination between the national and local governments to improve the investment climate in the countryside. These efforts continue.
During the APEC Summit, it is my mission as your President to reaffirm our commitment to Asia-Pacific economic integration as it complements our development, and our readiness to engage the region with a reinvigorated, more open, reform-oriented plan to entice trade and investment.
This is my administration’s first participation in APEC. The Philippines has long been an active member of APEC, ever since its first meeting in November 1989. We even hosted a meeting in 1996 during President Fidel V. Ramos’s term. Now that we have initiated the many reforms needed to revitalize our economy, the 22nd APEC meeting can serve as our platform, in our revived role as active members of the international community. In four days our delegation will return home. I am confident that we will bring back with us, as we have from our previous trips abroad, more opportunities for our people, stronger commitments from our allies, and greater recognition among the community of nations.
Thank you. Good day.