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17/02/2016: PH’S TRANSFORMATION HIGHLIGHTED IN PRES AQUINO’S ADDRESS TO THE LOS ANGELES WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-009-2016
17 February 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA – President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his address to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (LAWAC) on Tuesday, 16 February, highlighted the Philippines’ transformation into a nation that is able and willing to be more involved in international affairs.

In the forum entitled, “The Philippines and Security in East Asia,” the President asserted that the Administration’s reforms, such as the introduction of the zero-budgeting system, expansion of health insurance coverage, strengthening of technical and vocational education, and the conditional cash transfer program, are beginning to bear fruit and promising a better quality of life for Filipinos in the long-term.

He also cited the Government’s anti-corruption drive, which comes with a “guarantee of justice,” ensuring “that public servants who place their own interests above that of the people will be held accountable.”

These initiatives have created the conditions for the Philippines to play a more active role on the world stage.

“Our progress, naturally, has afforded us greater capacity to look outward and to take a closer look at our role in the global community. More and more, the Philippines sees itself in a better position to make a contribution,” said the President.

He emphasized the need for solidarity and concerted action in order to effectively address the risks posed by climate change, the threats of pandemics and extremism, and the massive displacement of people caused by violent conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The President also talked about the maritime dispute in the South China Sea, stressing that the Philippines will abide by the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal and expressing the hope that China will do the same.

President Aquino told the group that despite the difficulties of coming together on specific issues, he remains optimistic that forging harmonious and synergetic international relations is possible, especially when it is geared towards achieving a common purpose.

LAWAC President and CEO Terry McCarthy said, “It’s quite clear that the Philippines is spreading its wings more and I think we welcome that.”

He added that “the United States welcomes all countries that are friendly to the US to help in resolving the various issues around the world.”

After his speech, the President fielded questions on the South China Sea, the local jobs situation, gender equality, K-12 program, and the outcomes of the special ASEAN-US Summit in Sunnylands, California.

More than 220 people, including high school and college students, attended the forum. Mr. McCarthy said that the event was a unique opportunity for the students to hear from President Aquino whose steadfast commitment to good governance reforms continues to generate international public interest.

Composed of diverse and prominent members, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council hosts authoritative and influential figures in world affairs and provides them a venue to air their views.  ###