Philippine president tells ADB: Corruption over

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Saying the days of corruption that flourished under Gloria Arroyo were over, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Friday gave his word to international lenders that he would put to good use the money they would lend to the Philippines-and they could check this out later.

"You will continue to see results. You will continue to see a Philippines that is finally living up to its potential," Aquino said in his speech that capped the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) board of governors.

"We are prepared to follow through on our commitments, and you are by all means welcome to see if we're living up to our word," he declared.

"Investors and Filipinos alike see what is happening: Here is a country determined to turn the corner by instituting genuine, wide-ranging, meaningful reform, and acting on its belief that good governance is the bedrock of equitable progress," the President said.

"We have had six positive ratings actions since we took over government a little less than two years ago-a stark contrast to the single upgrade and six downgrades in the nine years of the previous administration," he added.

He said the country's stock market also experienced 27 all-time highs in his 22 months in office.

The President noted that the ADB's official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines amounts to US$761.97 million.

This includes $643.85 million for projects concerning social protection and support, agrarian reform, rural infrastructure, better health care and irrigation in the southern Philippines.

"You have helped out in our public-private partnership program, in our efforts to reform the justice system, and our energy-efficient electric tricycle project. We are getting to where we want to be faster because of your assistance," Aquino said.

He said the ADB meeting in Manila "reaffirms the newfound confidence the international community has exhibited towards my nation."

Borrowed money misused

"For this, you have the gratitude of our people, and a commitment from my administration. Gone are the days when the funds you funnel to our country will end up like water leaking through a broken pail," the President said.

Secretary Ricky Carandang, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said the $761.97 million ODA had been programmed for projects from 2011 to 2016.

"The President was referring in general to how borrowed money was misused in the past and not specifically to any loan program," Carandang said.

Aquino spoke of how his administration, through good governance, had improved the government's financial health and generated confidence from investors.

As in some of his previous speeches, he cited the difficulties his administration faced after the alleged excesses of the past Arroyo administration.

"(None) of us could have imagined how deeply eroded the foundations of government had become in the nine and a half years of my predecessor," Aquino said.

"Rice, imported at inflated cost by the government, was rotting away in rented warehouses. Stewards of GOCCs (government-owned and -controlled corporations) advanced their interest at the expense of the people. Bidding for public works had been orchestrated to favor individuals, again, at the expense of the people," he said.

Aquino said corruption "sapped the system of its vitality; public funds ceased to be used for the public good and found in private hands, whom we are now holding accountable."

Mindless spending

He added: "One of our first moves was to institutionalize a zero-based budget approach, where expenditures are rationalized and are not mindlessly carried over to the next year, regardless of whether they worked or not.

"We went after tax evaders aggressively ... We passed a law that put standards of governance in place so that (GOCCs) became more efficient and rational."

Aquino said the government also showed the resolve that no public official, "regardless of his or her position, will be beyond the reach of justice and accountability."

Tackling graft

The President said tackling the problem of graft had led to a more responsive government.

"As can be seen from our experience, weeding out corruption allows for a more fertile economic landscape: One that not only brings investors in, but also allows the real work of governance to impact the greater number of our people," he said.

"Enforcing strict adherence to public bidding rules has allowed our Department of Public Works and Highways to save P6.14 billion from our 2011 budget. Now that the leaks have been plugged, we can go about our business knowing that our taxpayers' hard-earned money indeed goes to projects that will benefit them," he said.

He said the DPWH's 403 projects had been completed, with the rest either ongoing or about to begin construction.

The same is true for the country's cash dole program and health insurance for the poorest of the poor families, he said.

"Now we are confident that the more than three million households in our conditional cash transfer program are actually the neediest families, and not merely the best-connected," he added. "Now we know that we are actually sponsoring the 5.2 million poorest families through our PhilHealth program."

The President said the country's greatest resource had always been the people.

"It is with this principle in mind that we have allocated unprecedented sums to alleviate extreme poverty and are concentrating on providing more opportunities for employment," he said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • High spirits battle: Asia tycoons vie for cognac maker Louis Royer

    * Louis Royer valued at about $150 mln - sources * Suntory selling cognac maker as part of portfolio reshuffle * Asia cognac demand seen rising 13 pct in 2015-19 -Euromonitor By Denny Thomas and Khettiya Jittapong HONG KONG/BANGKOK, May 30 (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is considering buying cognac maker Louis Royer, people familiar with the matter said, potentially locking horns with a Philippine tycoon for the French firm amid a forecast rebound in Asian demand for …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options